The Life of Charles Dickens

See our extensive list of articles on little-known aspects of the life of Charles Dickens. View a timeline of his life. Learn about his first love and his marriage. Discover how Charles Dickens had a brush with death in a railway accident in 1865.

The novels of Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens Timeline

Charles Dickens was born on February 7th in 1812 and died in 1870. View a timeline of noteworthy events and facts, both professional and personal, in his life.

Dickens at work in a shoe-blacking factory

The Childhood of Charles Dickens

Life was not easy for young Charles Dickens. Learn about his childhood, his dreams of being a gentleman as well as tales of Captain Murderer!

Charles Culliford Boz Dickens

The Children of Charles Dickens

Charles and Catherine Dickens had ten children. One went bankrupt and was later hired by his father. One joined the Canadian Mounted Police. One became a Member of Parliament in New South Wales.

Bonfire at Gad's Hill Place

In September of 1860 Charles Dickens gathered "the accumulated letters and papers of twenty years" and set them ablaze in his backyard. Did the bonfire mark a turning point in his life or was he trying to cover his tracks?

Francis Jeffrey Dickens as a child

Inspector Francis J. Dickens

Learn about Inspector Francis J. Dickens, the son of Charles Dickens who joined the Canadian Mounted Police.

Edgar Allan Poe

Friends of Charles Dickens

Dickens was a social man and had many friendships. People in his circle included Wilkie Collins, John Forster, William Makepeace Thackeray and Edgar Allan Poe.

Charles Dickens at Gad's Hill Place

Gad's Hill Place

In 1821, when Dickens was 9, he and his father took a walk through Kent. They passed a house called Gad's Hill Place. Young Charles was very impressed. Thirty-five years later Dickens bought the house that he admired as a child.

Charles Dickens

Law Clerk, Journalist, Actor - The Other Careers of Charles Dickens

Learn about the jobs that Dickens had before he became an author and other careers that he contemplated. Other careers? Yes, it's true! The author of A Christmas Carol worked as a law clerk and thought about being an actor.

Maria Beadnell

Maria Beadnell was the first love of Charles Dickens. For Charles it was love at first sight. His mind was quickly filled with thoughts of everlasting romance and marriage. Sadly, the romance didn't go as Dickens hoped.

Catherine Dickens

The Marriage of Charles Dickens

A man orders a bracelet for his mistress. It's mistakenly sent to his home where his wife discovers it. Sounds like a romance novel doesn't it? But it really happened to Charles Dickens.

Charles Dickens and Mesmerism


In 1849 John Leech, the illustrator for A Christmas Carol, was injured. Dickens rushed to his aid. What could Dickens do that the doctors couldn’t? Dickens helped his friend via the use of mesmerism.

Staplehurst Railway Accident

The Staplehurst Railway Accident

In June of 1865 Charles Dickens had a brush with death. While he survived, others weren't as lucky. Ten people died and forty were injured in the Staplehurst railway accident.

Sketch of Charles Dickens in 1842

What We Can Learn from Charles Dickens

From a very early age Charles Dickens knew he wanted to be gentleman. Unfortunately the odds weren’t in his favor.

The complete works of Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens and Copyright Laws

Copyrights are big news today, but they were also big news in Dickens's time. Learn about his fight for international copyright laws.