Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) is considered to be the greatest and most popular British novelist of the Victorian period. His childhood was marked by his parents’ economic difficulties and unsettled lifestyle. His father went to prison for debt, and 12-year-old Charles had to work in a factory. This traumatic period became an inspiration for many of his novels, which are rich in detail and clearly demonstrate his sense of social injustice and concern about the negative aspects of industrialisation. He has been praised for his realism, humour and unique characters and criticised for his sentimentality. Among his many novels are Oliver Twist (1837-1838), David Copperfield (1849-1850) and Hard Times (1854) from which this excerpt has been taken, and where he explicitly attacks the inhumanity of an industrial and materialistic society. Many of his novels have been turned into films and are still read today.