Charles Dickens, (1812 – 1870) was the foremost English novelist of the Victorian era, as well as a vigorous social campaigner. Considered one of the English language's greatest writers, he was acclaimed for his rich storytelling and memorable characters, and achieved massive worldwide popularity in his lifetime.
Later critics championed his mastery of prose, his endless invention of memorable characters and his powerful social sensibilities. The popularity of Dickens' novels and short stories has meant that not one has ever gone out of print. Dickens wrote serialised novels, the usual format for fiction at the time, and each new part of his stories was eagerly anticipated by the reading public.
As noted above, most of Dickens's major novels were first written in monthly or weekly installments in journals such as Master Humphrey's Clock and Household Words, later reprinted in book form. These installments made the stories cheap, accessible and the series of regular cliff-hangers made each new episode widely anticipated. American fans even waited at the docks in New York, shouting out to the crew of an incoming ship, "Is Little Nell dead?" Part of Dickens's great talent was to incorporate this episodic writing style but still end up with a coherent novel at the end. The monthly numbers were illustrated by, amongst others. Among his best-known works are Great Expectations, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, Bleak House, Nicholas Nickleby, The Pickwick Papers, and A Christmas Carol.
Dickens's novels were, among other things, works of social commentary. He was a fierce critic of the poverty and social stratification of Victorian society. Dickens's second novel, Oliver Twist (1839), shocked readers with its images of poverty and crime and was responsible for the clearing of the actual London slum that was the basis of the story's Jacob's Island. In addition, with the character of the tragic prostitute, Nancy, Dickens "humanized" such women for the reading public; women who were regarded as "unfortunates," inherently immoral casualties of the Victorian class/economic system.
All authors might be said to incorporate autobiographical elements in their fiction, but with Dickens this is very noticeable, even though he took pains to cover up what he considered his shameful, lowly past. David Copperfield is one of the most clearly autobiographical.
His popularity has never waned since his death, and he is still one of the best known and most read of English authors. At least 180 motion pictures and TV adaptations based on Dickens's works help confirm his success. Many of his works were adapted for the stage during his own lifetime.
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- Christmas Carol
- David Copperfield
- Great Expectations - Great Expectations is written in the first person and is virtually a fictional autobiography of “Pip” from his childhood, through often painful experiences, to adulthood. It charts his progress as he moves from the Kent marshes - his social status radically changed having gained an unknown benefactor - to busy commercial London.
- Great Expectations (Version 2)
- Hard Times - Novel is set in the fictitious Victorian-England city of Coketown, where facts are the rule and all fancy is to be stamped out. The plot centers around the men and women of the town, some of whom are beaten down by the city’s utilitarian ideals and some of whom manage to rise above it.
- The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit
- No Thoroughfare - Two boys from the Foundling Hospital are given the same name, with disastrous consequences in adulthood. Two associates, wishing to right the wrong, are commissioned to find a missing heir. Their quest takes them from fungous wine cellars in the City of London to the sunshine of the Mediterranean — across the Alps in winter. Danger and treachery would prevail were it not for the courage of the heroine and the faithful company servant.
- Oliver Twist
- Our Mutal Friend - Dickens’ last complete novel was published serially 1864-5. It begins with an intriguing fortune offered to John Harmon by his late father, a rich dust contractor, in his will.
- The Pickwick Papers
- The Tale of Two Cities
- Dombey and Son - The story centers around Paul Dombey, the stern owner of the Firm. He is totally immersed in having his newly born son continue the business, and entirely neglects his daughter Florence. Tragedy occurs, and Florence’s plight worsens.
- Little Dorrit
- The Mystery of Edwin Drood [Dickens Final Novel]
- The Signalman (From the 9th story in Librivox's Ghost Story Collection 004)
- Bleak House - It is widely held to be one of Dickens’ finest and most complete novels, containing one of the most vast, complex and engaging arrays of minor characters and sub-plots in his entire canon. Dickens tells all of these both through the narrative of the novel’s heroine, Esther Summerson, and as an omniscient narrator.
- The Old Curiosity Shop
- The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
- Barnaby Rudge - A Tale of the Gordon riots of 1780
- The Cricket on the Hearth (Dickens other Christmas Story)
- Critique of Charles Dickens Work by G.K. Chesterton
- Three Ghost Stories - The stories are: Signal Man, The Haunted House, The Trial for Murder
- The Seven Poor Travelers - One of Dickens’ Christmas stories, this was first published as part of the Christmas number of Household Words for 1854. The first chapter relates Dickens’ visit to the ancient Richard Watts’s Charity at Rochester. The second chapter is the touching story of “Richard Doubledick”, which Dickens supposedly told the travellers, and Dickens’ journey home on Christmas morning provides the short concluding chapter.
- Battle of Life - A Love Story: a Christmas Story
- To Be Read At Dusk (9th story in the LibriVox Horror Story Collection 005)
- The Trial for Murder (9th story in Ghost Story Collection 001)
- A Visit to Newgate (10th story in Short Story Collection 013)
- A Child's Dream of a Star (5th story in Short Story collection 006)
- The Lamplighter (7th story in Short Story Collection 036)
- Hunted Down (10th Short Mystery Sotry Collection 004)
- A Child’s Story (5th story in Christmas Short works 2010)
- The Legend Of The Christmas Tree (14th story in Christmas Short works 2010)
- What Christmas Is As We Grow Older (8th short story in Christmas Story Collection in 2009)
- To Be Taken with a Grain of Salt (15th story in Short Ghost and Horror Collection # 12)
- Sketches by Boz - consists of 56 passages divided into four sections: "Our Parish", "Scenes", "Characters", and "Tales".
- The Chimes - The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In is the second of Charles Dickens' Christmas books, published in 1844. Its contemporary setting is the "Hungry Forties", a time of social and political unrest, and the book has a strong moral message.
- The Haunted House, (1st story from Lock and Key Library)
- No. 1 Branch Line: The Signal Man, (2nd story from Lock and Key Library)
- The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain - A novella first published in 1848. It is the fifth and last of Dickens' Christmas novellas. The story is more about the spirit of the holidays than about the holidays themselves, harking back to the first of the series, A Christmas Carol. The tale centers around a Professor Redlaw and those close to him.
- Nicholas Nickleby - Nicholas Nickleby is a young Devonshire man of nineteen, handsome and hot headed, devoted to his sister Kate and his parents. Following the death of Nicholas’s father, they find themselves penniless, and travel to London to seek help from his uncle, Ralph Nickleby, a heartless, cunning rogue.
Dramatizations From Orson Welles' "Mercury Theatre on the Air":
- Christmas Carol dramatization
- The Pickwick Papers dramatization
- The Tale of Two Cities dramaitazation
Tales from Dickens by Hallie Erminie Rives - The Old Curiosity Shop; Hard Times; A Tale of Two Cities; Oliver Twist; The Pickwick Papers. Have you read any or all of these famous Dickens stories? The author of this marvelous book, Rives Ermine, a highly successful author in her own right, simply wanted to retell the basic elements of some of Dickens best beloved novels and story lines. Now is your chance to revisit these stories and revive the memories of great reads. Of it you haven't gotten around to some of these classics, this would be a marvelous chance to read what they are about so you can enjoy them even more in the original later. Each book is read by a single reader for a more consistent and understandable flow. As an added treat, the author's essay on Charles Dickens has been added as the last section of this audiobook.