Charles Dickens Timeline

Charles Dickens Timeline

The novels of Charles Dickens

Here’s a list of facts, events and dates in the life of Charles Dickens.

1812

John Dickens

John Dickens, the father of Charles Dickens

Charles John Huffman Dickens is born on February 7, 1812 to John and Elizabeth Dickens.

1824

Dickens at work in a shoe-blacking factory

Illustration by Fred Bernard of young Charles Dickens at work in a shoe-blacking factory. (from the 1892 edition of Forster’s Life of Dickens)

1824 was the darkest year in Dickens’s life.  His father, John Dickens was  arrested for debt and sent to the Marshalsea prison. The family needed money and sent Charles  to work in Warren’s Blacking Factory.

1827

In May of 1827 Charles Dickens takes a position as the clerk of an attorney.

1830

Maria Beadnell

Dickens meets Maria Beadnell, his first love interest.

1833

The relationship with Maria Beadnell ends.   A Dinner at Poplar Walk is published.

1834

Catherine Dickens

Catherine (Hogarth) Dickens

Began using the pseudonym “Boz“.  Meets his future wife, Catherine Hogarth.

1835

Dickens becomes engaged to Catherine.

1836

The Pickwick Papers

The Pickwick Papers

The first chapters of The Pickwick Papers are published.  In April of 1836 Dickens marries Catherine Hogarth.

1837

Oliver Twist

The first of his 10 children, Charles Culliford Boz Dickens, is born.  Mary Hogarth, Catherine’s sister, dies.  The publication of Oliver Twist begins.

1838

Nicholas Nickleby

Dickens and Hablot Browne travel to Yorkshire to see the boarding schools. Dickens’s  daughter, Mary, is born.  Publication of Nicholas Nickleby begins.

1839

His daughter, Kate, is born on October 29, 1839.

1840

The Old Curiosity Shop

Publication of The Old Curiosity Shop begins.

1841

Barnaby Rudge

Barnaby Rudge

Barnaby Rudge is published.  Charles and Catherine tour Scotland.  Their son, Walter, is born.

1842

Sketch of Charles Dickens in 1842

Sketch of Charles Dickens in 1842 (Small image on the bottom left is his sister, Fanny)

Charles and Catherine travel to America.  Late in 1842 or early in the next year Dickens begins work on Martin Chuzzlewit.

1843

a christmas carol

In September of 1843 Dickens and Clarkson Stanfield visit the Field Lane Ragged School.

A Christmas Carol is published on December 19, 1843.

1844

Francis Jeffrey Dickens as a child

Francis Jeffrey Dickens

His son Francis Jeffrey (Frank) is born on January 15, 1844.

Dickens and family travel to Italy.  Dickens treats Madame de la Rue with mesmerism.

1845

Another son, Alfred, is born.

1846

Dombey and Son

Dickens and his family travel to Switzerland.  Publication of Dombey and Son begins.

1847

Sydney Smith Haldimand Dickens

Sydney Smith Haldimand Dickens

His son, Sydney, is born.

1848

Dickens’s sister, Fanny, dies.  The Haunted Man, his last Christmas book is published.

1849

David Copperfield

His son, Henry Fielding Dickens, is born.  The publication of David Copperfield begins.

1850

His daughter, Dora Annie Dickens, is born.

1851

Catherine Dickens suffers a nervous collapse.  John Dickens, the father of Charles Dickens, dies.  Dora Dickens dies when she is only eight months old.  What Shall we have for Dinner?, a cookbook by Catherine Dickens is published.

1852

Bleak House

The publication of Bleak House begins. His son, Edward or “Plorn”, is born.

1853

Dickens gives his first public reading of one of his works.

1854

Hard Times as serialized in Household Words

Hard Times as serialized in Household Words

Hard Times is published.

1855

Little Dorrit

Dickens has a disappointing reunion with Maria Winter (Maria Beadnell).  Publication of Little Dorrit begins.

1856

Gad's Hill Place

Gad’s Hill Place

Dickens works with Wilkie Collins on The Frozen Deep. Dickens purchases Gad’s Hill Place.

1857

Ellen Ternan

Hans Christian Anderson is entertained at Gad’s Hill Place. Dickens meets Ellen Ternan.

1858

Dickens separates from Catherine, his wife.

1859

A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities is published.

1860

Title page of first edition of Great Expectations

Title page of first edition of Great Expectations

Publication of Great Expectations begins in All the Year Round.  His daughter, Katie, marries.  Ten days later his brother, Alfred, dies. Dickens burns his personal papers.

1863

Elizabeth Dickens

Elizabeth Dickens, the mother of Charles Dickens

Dickens’ mother, Elizabeth, dies. Dickens begins work on Our Mutual Friend.

1864

Our Mutual Friend

His son, Walter, dies in India.  The first installment of Our Mutual Friend is printed.

1865

Staplehurst Railway Accident

The Staplehurst railway accident as depicted in the Illustrated London News

On June 9, 1865 Dickens is involved in the Staplehurst railway accident.  Ellen Ternan and her mother were also on the train with him that day.

1867

Charles Dickens giving a public reading

“Charles Dickens as he appears when reading.” Illustration in Harper’s Weekly, December 1867.

Dickens tours America for the second time.

1868

He gives his first Murder of Nancy reading.

1869

The mystery of edwin drood

Dickens is ordered by doctors to discontinue readings. Dickens begins writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

1870

Dickens gives his final public reading.  Publication of  The Mystery of Edwin Drood begins.  Charles Dickens dies at Gad’s Hill Place on June 9, 1870.

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