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David Copperfield

David Copperfield

Author(s) : Charles Dickens

One of the most widely-read English novels, David Copperfield was Dickens’ own favourite too. The story recounts David’s struggles in this sad little world where he finds islands of goodness and love. The harsh Murdstones, the mismanaged Mr Micawber, the loyal, warm-hearted nurse Peggotty and creepy Uriah Heep—you will meet all these characters in this famous classic by Charles Dickens.

Book Details

Charles John Huffam Dickens was born at Portsea on February 7, 1812, the second child of John Dickens and his wife Elizabeth. His father, a clerk in the Navy Pay Office, was always getting into debt, and so young Charles grew up as a poor, insecure boy. After the family moved to London, John Dickens was arrested and put into prison. Elizabeth went with four of her children to stay with her husband in jail, as was allowed in those days, and Charles stayed back and worked in a blacking factory. Here, for six shillings a week, he pasted lables on blacking bottles. Those few months were the worst for Dickens, and he was never to forget them for the rest of his life.

However, a relative left some money for the family and John Dickens was able to get his release from prison, after paying his debts, and send his son to school, where he remained for two or three years. At the age of fifteen, Charles entered a solicitor's office as a junior clerk. Though it was not so well paid, it enabled him to get a certain independence and to meet new people and go to the theatre. In 1833 he wrote his first "sketch" for the Old Monthly Magazine and followed it up with others. Three years later they were published in volume form and the same year he married Catherine Hogarth.

Within a few years Dickens became the most popular writer of the country. More than that he had become a public institution. Book followed book and he kept writing till his death. Oliver Twist came in 1838, Nicholas Nickleby a year later. In 1843 he wrote A Christmas Carol, the first of Dickens' Christmas books, which was followed by The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, etc; His other leading works included David Copperfield -. in which he drew his father's portrait as Mr Micawber - Bleak House, Little Dorrit, A Tale of Two Cities, The Uncommercial Traveller, and Great Expectations. His works always showed the dark side of Victorian life. His social criticisms helped to improve school and jail conditions, while his lively characters and moving stories touched the hearts of readers all over the world.

He had ten children and stayed a great deal abroad, starting public reading of his books. These were a great success but told on his health. He died of a cerebral stroke in 1870, leaving behind an unfinished work, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.