“He didn’t fit in.”

Even though he was wealthy and influential, Charles Dickens didn’t fit into middle-class life in Victorian England for many reasons. Here are three: He made fun of “society” people in his novels. Instead of writing anonymously, as the other novelists of his day did, Dickens became a celebrity who went on tours to perform his work. He made bold literary choices: His Oliver Twist was the first English novel with a child as the central character – and it was a child who lived in poverty. This biography by Jane Smiley describes Dickens’ “remarkable and disturbing” personal history and literary legacy.

Smiley, Jane. Charles Dickens: A Life. Lipper-Penguin, 2002, p. 119.


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