Bio: Charles Dickens was born at Portsmouth on 7 February 1812, the second of eight children. Dickens's childhood experiences were similar to those depicted in David Copperfield. His father, who was a government clerk, was imprisoned for debt and Dickens was briefly sent to work in a warehouse at the age of twelve. He received little formal education, but became a reporter of parliamentary debates for the Morning Chronicle. The Pickwick Papers were published in 1836-7 and after a slow start became a publishing phenomenon and Dickens's characters the centre of a popular cult. Part of the secret of his success was the method of cheap serial publication which Dickens used for all his novels. He began Oliver Twist in 1837, followed by Nicholas Nickleby (1838) and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-41). Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-4) did not repeat its predecessors' success but this was quickly redressed by the huge popularity of the Christmas Books, of which the first, A Christmas Carol, appeared in 1843. In 1850 Dickens started the weekly periodical Household Words, succeeded in 1859 by All the Year Round; in these he published Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859) and Great Expectations (1860-61). Dickens's health was failing during the 1860s and the physical strain of the public readings which he began in 1858 hastened his decline, although Our Mutual Friend (1865) retained some of his best comedy. His last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was never completed and he died on 9 June 1870. Public grief at his death was considerable and he was buried in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey.

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Works of Charles Dickens: 1855-1857
Five works by the great mid-19th Century British writer Charles Dickens (1812-1870): "The Holly-Tree" (short story, 1855), "The Wreck of the Golden Mary" (short story, 1856), "The Perils of Certain English Prisoners" (short story, 1857), "The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices" (1857), and"Little Dorrit" (1855-57), plus "Reprinted Pieces, 1850-59" (25 brief writings).
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