Charles Dickens

 

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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From LibriVox:

  1. Christmas Carol
  2. David Copperfield
  3. 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. 
  4. Great Expectations (Version 2)
  5. 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.
  6. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit
  7. 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.
  8. Oliver Twist
  9. 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. 
  10. The Pickwick Papers
  11. The Tale of Two Cities
  12. 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.
  13. Little Dorrit
  14. The Mystery of Edwin Drood    [Dickens Final Novel]
  15. The Signalman  (From the 9th story in Librivox's Ghost Story Collection 004)
  16. 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.
  17. The Old Curiosity Shop
  18. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
  19. Barnaby Rudge A Tale of the Gordon riots of 1780
  20. The Cricket on the Hearth  (Dickens other Christmas Story)
  21. Critique of Charles Dickens Work   by G.K. Chesterton
  22. Three Ghost Stories - The stories are:  Signal Man, The Haunted House, The Trial for Murder
  23. 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. 
  24. Battle of Life - A Love Story:  a Christmas Story
  25. To Be Read At Dusk  (9th story in the LibriVox Horror Story Collection 005)
  26. The Trial for Murder  (9th story in Ghost Story Collection 001)
  27. A Visit to Newgate   (10th story in Short Story Collection 013)
  28. A Child's Dream of a Star    (5th story in Short Story collection 006)
  29. The Lamplighter  (7th story in Short Story Collection 036)
  30. Hunted Down  (10th Short Mystery Sotry Collection 004)
  31. A Child’s Story  (5th story in Christmas Short works 2010)
  32. The Legend Of The Christmas Tree   (14th story in Christmas Short works 2010)
  33. What Christmas Is As We Grow Older (8th short story in Christmas Story Collection in 2009)
  34. To Be Taken with a Grain of Salt   (15th story in Short Ghost and Horror Collection # 12)
  35. Sketches by Boz - consists of 56 passages divided into four sections: "Our Parish", "Scenes", "Characters", and "Tales". 
  36. 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.
  37. The Haunted House,  (1st story from Lock and Key Library)
  38. No. 1 Branch Line: The Signal Man,   (2nd story from Lock and Key Library)
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
    40.  The Wreck of the Golden Mary Short story of a ship wreck in 1851 trying to round Cape Horn
          on its way to the California Gold Fields.
 
  41.  American Notes for General Circulation - American Notes for General Circulation is a travelogue by Charles Dickens detailing his trip to North America from January to June, 1842. While there he acted as a critical observer of these societies almost as if returning a status report on their progress.  

  42.  A Child's Story  (1st story in Xmas Short Works - 2011)

  43.  What Christmas Is As We Grow Older  (27th story in Xmas Short Works - 2011

  44.  The Charles Dickens 200th Anniversary Collection - Volume 1 This collection comprises short works previously unrecorded for LibriVox - fiction, essays, poetry, letters, magazine articles and speeches - and each volume will be a pot pourri of all genres and periods of his writing. This first volume is released on Dickens' 200th birthday.  Volume 1 includes short stories including, amongst others, The Holly Tree, the first part of Holiday Romance and three pieces from Mugby Junction.

  45. The Charles Dickens 200th Anniversary Collection - Volume 2 comprises short works previously unrecorded for LibriVox - fiction, essays, poetry, letters, magazine articles and speeches - and each volume will be a pot pourri of all genres and periods of his writing. 
This, the second volume, includes short fiction, magazine articles, social commentary, poetry and speeches.

The Charles Dickens 200th Anniversary Collection comprises short works previously unrecorded for LibriVox - fiction, essays, poetry, letters, magazine articles and speeches - and each volume will be a pot pourri of all genres and periods of his writing.  This is the third volume, and includes fiction, letters, magazine articles, poetry, a chapter from Pictures of Italy and a couple of good Dickens rants.

  47.  Mudfog and other Sketches - The Mudfog Papers was published from 1837–38 in the monthly literary serial Bentley's Miscellany, which he then edited. They were first published as a book as 'The Mudfog Papers and Other Sketches. The Mudfog Papers relates the proceedings of the fictional 'The Mudfog Society for the Advancement of Everything', a Pickwickian parody of the British Association for the Advancement of Science founded in York in 1831, one of the numerous Victorian learned societies dedicated to the advancement of Science. 

  48.  The Uncommercial Traveller - The Uncommercial Traveller is a collection of literary sketches and reminiscences. In 1859 Dickens founded a new journal called All the Year Round and the Uncommercial Traveller articles would be among his main contributions. He seems to have chosen the title and persona of the Uncommercial Traveller as a result of a speech he gave on the 22 December 1859 to the Commercial Travellers' School London in his role as honorary chairman and treasurer. The persona sits well with a writer who liked to travel, not only as a tourist, but also to research and report what he found; visiting Europe, America and giving book readings throughout Britain

  49.  Is She His Wife? by Charles Dickens  – 44 minutes (5th story in One Act Play Collection 004)

  50.  Mr. Nightingale's Diary by Charles Dickens  – 1 hour 4 minutes (8th story in One Act Play Collection 004)

  51.  Charles Dickens 200th Anniversary Collection Volume 4 - This year is the 200th anniversary of Dickens' birth. This is the fourth volume; the first volume of short works - fiction, essays, poetry and speeches, previously unrecorded for LibriVox, was catalogued by Dickens' birthday on February 7th 2012. Further volumes will follow during the anniversary year. 

  52.  Christmas At Fezziwig's Warehouse by Charles Dickens (4 minutes) - 1st story in The Children’s Book of Christmas Stories 

  53.  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (5 minutes) - 20th story in The Children’s Book of Christmas Stories 

  54.  The Cratchits' Christmas Dinner by Charles Dickens (6 minutes) - 27th story in The Children’s Book of Christmas Stories 

  55.  Charles Dickens 200th Anniversary Collection Vol 5 - This is the fifth volume; the first volume of short works - fiction, essays, poetry and speeches, previously unrecorded for LibriVox.

  56.  The Strange Gentleman - Before he became a novelist, Dickens wrote several successful plays. This one from 1836, his first, he called, "A Comic Burletta in Two Acts".  Characters arrive at a village inn called "The St. James Arms" and much confusion ensues.

57.  The Trial of William Tinkling  (5th story from Short Works - Vol 16)

58.  The Magic Fishbone  (6th story from Short Works - Vol 16)

59.  The Black Veil by Charles Dickens  (16th story in Ghost and Horror Stories Volume 18)

60.  Pictures from Italy - Dickens takes time off his novels to give an account of travels which he and his family undertook in France and Italy. There are vivid descriptions of the places, but also of the people and their lives.

61.  A Child's Dream Of A Star by Charles Dickens (1st story from Famous Stories)

62.  The Village Coquettes (Play) - Before he started writing novels, Charles Dickens tried his hand at theater. The Village Coquettes is a two act musical. Sadly the music was lost long ago so this will be a spoken version. This play completes the recording of the relatively unknown plays of Dickens in celebration of his 200th birthday!

63.  Captain Murderer - Charles Dickens (3rd story from Short Ghost Collection # 22

64.  Martin Chuzzlewit - Martin Chuzzlewit was Dickens 6th novel, serially published in 1843 - 44. Irrespective of the fact that Dickens considered - "Chuzzlewit is in 100 points immeasurably the best of my stories"- it failed to resonate with, or capture the public's imagination as many of its predecessors had done. However by the 1850s its popularity had risen and it eventually found recognition as the great novel that it is.
The theme of the story is about selfishness and obstinacy. The callow eponymous hero Martin Chuzzlewit is estranged from his grandfather (Martin Chuzzlewit the elder) for having the temerity to fall in love with his grandfather's ward — Mary Graham. The Chuzzlewit family are all placed under the microscope as Martin journeys on a voyage of what can only be termed as "self-discovery". His journeying takes him to America, where his experiences change him forever and he returns a far better man. 
This is a satirical novel, particularly when Martin is in America and Dickens, who never shirked from social criticism, utilized that portion of the book to express his feelings on his experiences during his visit to America in 1842. 

65. The Tempest by Charles Dickens (12th story from Sea Stories)

66. Dr. Manette's Manuscript by Charles Dickens (7th story from International Short Stories # 2)

67.  Christmas Stories From 'Household Words' And 'All The Year Round' - Twenty stories originally published in the Christmas editions of the magazines “Household Words” and “All The Year Round”. Some of the stories have little holiday sentiment and exhibit much of the indignation Dickens felt at the social and economic injustices of his day. Some of the stories were written in collaboration with other authors. The editor of this volume chose to omit those other chapters and include only Dickens' work. The result is that some of the stories are a bit choppy, not to say confusing. 

68. Christmas Books - From 1843 to 1848, Charles Dickens wrote a series of five (5) novellas to be published at Christmas. Most people are familiar with the first, "A Christmas Carol." The others are "The Chimes," "The Cricket on the Hearth," "The Battle of Life," and "The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain." 

69.  Master Humphrey's Clock - Between April of 1840 and December of the following year, Charles Dickens published Master Humphrey's Clock - a weekly periodical that presented short stories ostensibly read by the title character and his circle of friends - as well as correspondence to the fictional club. Ultimately, the periodical included the complete novels "The Old Curiosity Club" and "Barnaby Rudge." [See # 19 above] These two novels are, however, referenced in the recording, when Master Humphrey and his friends refer to them. This recording presents all the published material except for the two novels.

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Dramatizations From Orson Welles' "Mercury Theatre on the Air":

  1. Christmas Carol    dramatization
  2. The Pickwick Papers    dramatization
  3. The Tale of Two Cities    dramaitazation

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 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. 

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