A Biography

Timeline of Dickens's Life
1812 February 7 - Charles Dickens born in Landport, a suburb of Portsmouth, England, the son of John and Elizabeth Dickens.
1814 Dickens family moves to London.
1816 Charles begins schooling, although he can already read very well.
1824 February 2 - John Dickens arrested for extensive debt, Charles is pulled from school and is forced to labor at a shoemaking factory at the age of twelve. The event haunts Dickens psychologically for the remainder of his life.
May 28 - John Dickens released from prison and at his insistence, Charles is returned to school.
1827 At the age of fifteen, Charles gets a job as a clerk in a lawyer's office.
1829 Charles becomes a reporter for a local paper, the Doctor's Commons Courts.
1830 Dickens falls in love with Maria Beadnell.
1831 Dickens reports on parliamentary proceedings in the House of Commons during arguments over the Reform Bill, which has meant to guarantee more rights to the working classes.
1833 Dickens is denied engagement by Maria Beadnell.
Dickens publishes his first fiction, "Dinner at Poplar Walk", in the Monthly Magazine.
1834 Working as a newspaper reporter, Dickens introduces the pseudonym "Boz".
John Dickens is again arrested for debt, and Charles aids in his release.
1835 Dickens becomes engaged to Catherine Hogarth, the daughter of a friend.
1836 March 30 - First chapter of Dickens's Pickwick Papers appears in newspapers as a serial story.
April 2 - Charles Dickens and Catherine Hogarth married.
Dickens meets John Foster, who becomes his best friend and first biographer.
1837 Dickens begins Oliver Twist as another serial in Bentley's Miscellany, a newspaper of which he is now editor.
Charles, the first of ten children, is born.
Last chapter of Pickwick Papers published.
1839 Dickens resigns as newspaper editor.
Oliver Twist completed in April.
1842 Dickens tours the United States and Canada to promote international copywrite laws and the movement against slavery. Upon return to England, he publishes the American Notes, creating much anger in America for its less-than-flattering portrayal of the country.
1844 Dickens family tours Italy.
December - Dickens's A Christmas Carol is published three weeks before Christmas. It is wildly successful, and over six thousand copies are sold in England by Christmas Day.
1845 Dickens begins his own amateur theatrical company, a group that would, from then on, occupy much of his time and from which he would draw much inspiration.
1847 Dickens returns to England from two year tour of France and other parts of Europe.
1849 Dickens's autobiographical novel, David Copperfield, begins appearing as a serial in papers.
1853 Dickens begins the first of many public readings of his own novels in London.
1856 Dickens, in collaboration with Wilkie Collins, writes the play The Frozen Deep, a tale of self sacrificing love which was of great influence to his later works such as A Tale of Two Cities.
1857 Dickens's theatrical company performs The Frozen Deep before the Queen.
Dickens falls in love with Ellen Ternan, a new actress in the theater group.
1858 Dickens begins first public readings for pay in London.
Dickens divorces Catherine after a difficult marriage. This is coupled with the loss of several of his best friends through arguments.
1859 Dickens founds new weekly paper, All the Year Round, and uses it to publish weekly chapters of A Tale of Two Cities.
1860 Dickens's strange behavior leads him to purchase Gad's Hall, a large house he admired as a child, and to burn several of his personal letters.
Great Expectations begins to appear in All the Year Round.
1861 Public readings by Dickens become more frequent.
Great Expectations is completed in August.
1863 Dickens travels to Paris for a tour of public readings there.
1865 Dickens health begins to fail, and he is shaken by a railway accident.
1866 Dickens begins a public reading tour of the British Isles.
1867 Dickens embarks on a reading tour in America, returning in 1868.
1869 Dickens's readings are canceled when he shows signs of a mild stroke. He retires to Gad's Hall to write his last work, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
1870 Dickens performs his last public reading in London.
June 8 - Dickens suffers a stroke at Gad'a Hall after a full day's work on The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
June 9 - Charles Dickens dies at Gad's Hall.
June 14 - Dickens is buried in the poets corner at Westminster Abby before a crowd of thousands, despite his wish to be buried in solitude at Gad's Hall.
September - The final chapter of his unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood is published.

These links provide more extensive Dickens biographies:
1.Charles Dickens 1812-1870 (Dickenson Heritage Foundation)
2.Dickens: A Brief Biography
3.Talking to Charles Dickens: Dickens's Working Life
4.Talking to Charles Dickens: Dickens's Private Life

This webpage was created by Ron Peckham, a student at Westview High School in Martin, Tennessee.

You can contact me at rpeckham@yahoo.com

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