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Who Was Charles Dickens? The Man, His Works And His Legacy

If ever asked who is Charles Dickens, one is tempted to paraphrase his iconic ghost character Marley, "Ask not who he is, but rather who he was." Below you will find out who was Charles Dickens, his works and his impact on the world.

A Brief History On The Life Of One Of England's Most Famous Writers

Who was Charles Dickens

So, who was Charles Dickens? His name is always mentioned with the great classical writers. He documented the Industrial Revolution like no other. He left his mark on culture, life and the way we view it.

Like Jane Austen, Charles Dickens' works prove that he knew human nature well. His works are known for relatable characters, feelings and situations. Most of his stories float on an eery mood of strange and weird people and circumstances. He once related the his stories "took possession" of him and that he "experienced" then more than simply retold them.

Dickens was born to a very poor family in 1812. He seems to have spent a childhood very much the same as his favorite character, David Copperfield. Most of his novels carry a similar thread of a child who has unhappy family situations where the character escapes, is disillusioned about happiness but in the end finds the true meaning. This seems to be his own life story as most of his novels carry this theme.

Most of his novels were written at the point of financial desperation and I believe a few of them were even written while Charles Dickens was in debtors prison. Through all these circumstances, his reader would never guess his sorry situation as in all his novels his characters come out on top as if he himself believed that he would one day.

1. Who Was Charles Dickens And What Are Some Of His Most Famous Novels?

A Christmas Carol

One does not answer who was Charles Dickens and not mention some of his famous works that he gave he world. His most famous work is unquestionably A Christmas Carol. Everyone is familiar with his three ghosts of Christmas who change the heart of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve.

A recent read in our house was David Copperfield. Charles Dickens seams to express that this is his personal favorite work as he relates his reluctancy to finish the book as he felt like it was saying good-bye to a dear friend.

His most touching novel is A Tale of Two Cities. This is his only work which is a historical fiction as it takes place during the French Revolution. In this novel, Charles Dickens brands the most heroic tale of love and self sacrifice in the chilling last line: "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

In Charles Dickens' haunting novel, Great Expectaions, he shares the heartwarming message of "where you want to be is exactly were you have always been". Again, an element of strange that is so characteristic of Charles Dickens is the inclusion of a super creepy, decaying lady living in an equally decaying wedding dress.

Other Charles Dickens novels which I have not yet had the pleasure of reading are Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby.

2. The Man Who Invented Christmas - A Movie Answering The Question Who Was Charles Dickens By Only Focusing On One Of His Works

Charles Dickens movies

No movie answers the question of who was Charles Dickens better than Parallel Film's The Man Who Invented Christmas. This movie follows Charles Dickens as he is writing and publishing his masterpiece, A Christmas Carol. After success and a world tour with Oliver Twist, the author has experienced three failures in a row and is anxious to make something the public will accept.

Through a creative imagination where he walks with the characters every day, Dickens begins to form the story of the most exciting Christmas Eve. An elderly Christopher Plummer performs the imaginary Scrooge. An unknown actor to me, Dan Stevens, does an amazing job performing the energetic, sometimes moody but lovable author. 


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3. Who Was Charles Dickens Can Be Answered By Experiencing His Works In Film

The Personal History of David Copperfield

I have seen several of Charles Dickens' novels adapted into films, my favorite of which is The Personal History of David Copperfield. This adaptation stays loyal to the book while giving the storyline a comical twist.

There are uncountable versions of A Christmas Carol (even a Barbie adaptation). Here is a movie review for our three favorites.

A moving film version of A Tale of Two Cities was made in 1935. Ronald Colman plays the unlikely hero Sydney Carton. Colman had long wanted to play this character and this film is considered the best performance of his career. Some in our family can not stand watching black and white films but this one is well worth it.

We recently turned on Nicholas Nickleby without having known the storyline. Starring Anne Hathaway, Romola Garai and, again, an elderly Christopher Plummer, there was nothing immoral about the story but contained adult themes and was a little hard to watch. Child labor, child torture, escapes from an evil school then sensual drama at home are all things that the main character, Nicholas, is forced to face painfully one after the other. Again, a good story but a little too much for sensitive audiences.

I watched Oliver Twist the musical a very long time ago. I can't remember all the details of the story but the music and lyrics can be recalled and sang after all these years. As a kid, it was also a disturbing film but a good story.


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4. Who Was Charles Dickens - His Legacy

Who is Charles Dickens

Have you ever heard someone say "as dead as a doornail?" It was none other than Charles Dickens who coined the phrase. The way we celebrate Christmas was even impacted by this Victorian author. The exclamatory phrase "What the Dickens!" was often used by my great-grandmother. Doubtless, this was in reference to the author's strange captivating sentences.

Charles Dickens gave to the world creative true-to-life novels that have no match. This classical writer has left us valuable details of life in Industrial Revolution England, and because of him our culture was positively changed. His believable characters are relatable in their journey through life in the comical, serious, romantic and sometime strange storytelling of one of the best authors that Great Britain produced.

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