39 Facts About Charles Dickens

1. Charles Dickens collapsed from a stroke while dining with his wife's other sister, Georgina Hogarth, at his home; he died on June 9, 1870.

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2. On June 10, 1865, Charles Dickens was traveling home from France when his train derailed while crossing a bridge, and his car was left dangling from the tracks.

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3. Charles Dickens owned a beloved raven he named Grip, and it even appears as a character in his novel Barnaby Rudge.

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4. Charles Dickens made various changes to the property, particularly the drawing room.

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5. Charles Dickens cared a great deal about how his home looked.

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6. Charles Dickens had Grip stuffed, and the creature now resides in the Philadelphia Free Library.

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7. Charles Dickens kept a pet raven named Grip, which he had stuffed when it died in 1841.

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8. Charles Dickens was keenly interested in the paranormal, and has even been linked to the famous paranormal investigation group "The Ghost Club" of London.

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9. Charles Dickens claimed his first love was Little Red Riding Hood, who was, of course, the archetypal innocent about to be devoured by unexpected evil.

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10. Charles Dickens spent significant time in Italy, resulting in his 1846 travelogue Pictures from Italy.

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11. Charles Dickens married Catherine Hogarth soon after his first book, Sketches by Boz, was published.

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12. Charles Dickens was born Charles John Huffam Dickens on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, on the southern coast of England.

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13. Charles Dickens was a British novelist, journalist, editor, illustrator and social commentator who wrote such beloved classic novels as Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.

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14. In 2002, Charles Dickens was number 41 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.

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15. Charles Dickens was the most popular novelist of his time, and remains one of the best-known and most-read of English authors.

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16. Charles Dickens was a fierce critic of the poverty and social stratification of Victorian society.

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17. Charles Dickens described London as a magic lantern, inspiring the places and people in many of his novels.

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18. Charles Dickens never regained consciousness, and the next day, five years to the day after the Staplehurst rail crash, he died at Gads Hill Place.

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19. Charles Dickens collapsed on 22 April 1869, at Preston in Lancashire, and on doctor's advice, the tour was cancelled.

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20. Charles Dickens managed, of a contracted 100 readings, to deliver 75 in the provinces, with a further 12 in London.

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21. Charles Dickens performed 76 readings, netting £19,000, from December 1867 to April 1868.

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22. Charles Dickens based the story on several previous rail accidents, such as the Clayton Tunnel rail crash of 1861.

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23. In late November 1851, Charles Dickens moved into Tavistock House where he wrote Bleak House, Hard Times (1854), and Little Dorrit (1856).

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24. In December 1845, Charles Dickens took up the editorship of the London-based Daily News, a liberal paper through which Dickens hoped to advocate, in his own words, "the Principles of Progress and Improvement, of Education and Civil and Religious Liberty and Equal Legislation.

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25. Charles Dickens wrote a religious work called The Life of Our Lord, which was a short book about the life of Jesus Christ, written with the purpose of inculcating his faith to his children and family.

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26. Charles Dickens includes in Notes a powerful condemnation of slavery, which he had attacked as early as The Pickwick Papers, correlating the emancipation of the poor in England with the abolition of slavery abroad citing newspaper accounts of runaway slaves disfigured by their masters.

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27. Charles Dickens described his impressions in a travelogue, American Notes for General Circulation.

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28. Charles Dickens modeled the character of Agnes Wickfield after Georgina and Mary.

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29. Charles Dickens wrote three anti-Tory verse satires which were published in The Examiner.

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30. Charles Dickens declared they were both to drown there in the "sad sea waves".

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31. Charles Dickens became very attached to Mary, and she died in his arms after a brief illness in 1837.

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32. In November 1836, Charles Dickens accepted the position of editor of Bentley's Miscellany, a position he held for three years, until he fell out with the owner.

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33. Charles Dickens began a friendship with William Harrison Ainsworth, the author of the highwayman novel Rookwood, whose bachelor salon in Harrow Road had become the meeting place for a set that included Daniel Maclise, Benjamin Disraeli, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and George Cruikshank.

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34. Charles Dickens prepared meticulously and decided to imitate the comedian Charles Mathews, but ultimately he missed the audition because of a cold.

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35. Charles Dickens was a gifted mimic and impersonated those around him: clients, lawyers, and clerks.

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36. Charles Dickens worked at the law office of Ellis and Blackmore, attorneys, of Holborn Court, Gray's Inn, as a junior clerk from May 1827 to November 1828.

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37. Under the Insolvent Debtors Act, Charles Dickens arranged for payment of his creditors, and he and his family left Marshalsea, for the home of Mrs Roylance.

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38. Charles Dickens spent time outdoors, but read voraciously, including the picaresque novels of Tobias Smollett and Henry Fielding, as well as Robinson Crusoe and Gil Blas.

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39. In January 1815, John Charles Dickens was called back to London, and the family moved to Norfolk Street, Fitzrovia.

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