Who is Boz?

In December 1833, Charles Dickens’s first literary effort was published. It was a sketch or essay entitled A Dinner at Poplar Walk. Other sketches soon followed.

Dickens wanted a memorable way of identifying the sketches as his. He finally picked a nickname for himself. One of his favorite characters in Goldsmith’s Vicar of Wakefield was called Moses. Moses became Boses which became Boz.

Boz - The pen name of Charles Dickens

In 1836 two collections of the essays (one published in February and a second in August) entitled Sketches by Boz were published.  They were a great success.  In 1839 the two collections were combined into one volume and reissued.

Sketches by Boz

Title page of the second collection from 1836, illustration by George Cruikshank