About The Author
Charles John Huffam Dickens, generally regarded as the quintessential Victorian writer, was born in February 1812. His idyllic early childhood came to an abrupt end when his father was imprisoned at Marshalsea for debt, an incident which would inform much of his writing, and the whole family was sent there with him, apart from Charles, who found himself working in a blacking factory. They were rescued by an inheritance from a relative and Charles was able to continue his education before working at a legal office and as a reporter before becoming a parliamentary journalist for TheMorning Chronicle in 1833.
His first collection of fiction, Sketches by Boz, was published in 1836, edited by George Hogarth whose daughter Catherine he married shortly after, and The Pickwick Papers followed later that year, firmly establishing him as one of England's most popular writers. Much of his work was originally published in instalments, with Dickens writing the stories as they were being published, the outcome sometimes informed by feedback he received from the earlier published sections. Hugely prolific, he produced hundreds of pages every year: Oliver Twist appeared 1837-9, Nickolas Nickleby 1838-9, The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge both during 1840-1, a pace that hardly lessened over the years.
As well as novels, Dickens also produced autobiographical writings and travel books, such as American Notes, left,, and edited periodicals. He was also an indefatigable campaigner for social reform, at home and abroad, for example, lecturing against slavery in the United States. A theatre enthusiast, he both wrote and performed in plays and also gave many public readings of his work.
Already in a relationship with the actress Ellen Ternan which continued until his death, in 1858 he separated from Catherine, with whom he had ten children. He died of a stroke in 1870, leaving an unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
So popular, that it has never been out of print, Dickens' work has also divided critics over the years, many accusing him of sentimentality and implausibility and an inability to create credible female characters. Nevertheless, there was no doubt about his ability to create compelling plots and to force discussion - and reform - of many of the pressing social issues of the day - for example, it was generally believed that Fleet Prison was closed down as a result of the prison scenes in The Pickwick Papers. And his vivid depictions of life in 19th century England have spurned the term Dickensian, which endures to this day.
Below is a list of titles by Charles Dickens currently in print in the UK. You may also find other editions including in our 'New and Used' section via this search result
The Author At Foyles
Read our blog on 'Charles Dickens: The booklover's novelist'
We are very excited about our upcoming Dicken's Day event, despite the fact that the eponymous author can't make it! See top of page for details.