Charles Dickens, 1812-1870

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English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens's works are characterized by attacks on social evils, injustice, and hypocrisy. He had also experienced in his youth oppression, when he was forced to end school in early teens and work in a factory. Dickens's good, bad, and comic characters, such as the cruel miser Scrooge, the aspiring novelist David Copperfield, or the trusting and innocent Mr. Pickwick, have fascinated generations of readers. Charles Dickens was born in Landport, Hampshire, during the new industrial age, which gave birth to theories of Karl Marx. Dickens's father was a clerk in the navy pay office he was well paid but often ended in financial troubles. In 1814 Dickens moved to London, and then to Chatham, where he received some education.

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GREAT EXPECTATIONS (383 KB)
Fiction, England, 19th. century, social life and customs
Pip (Philip Pirrip), an orphan, lives with his old sister and her husband. He meets an escaped convict named Abel Magwitch and helps him against his will. Magwitch is recaptured and Pip is taken care of Miss Havisham. He falls in love with the cold-hearted Estella, Miss Havisham's ward. With the help of an anonymous benefactor, Pip is properly educated, and he becomes a snob. Magwitch turns out to be the benefactor; he dies and Pip's "great expectations" are ruined. He works as a clerk in a trading firm, and he forgets his values in the pursuit of the beautiful and enigmatic Estella, Magwitch's daughter. 


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OLIVER TWIST (351 KB)
London (England), fiction, 19th. century, social life and customs
This novel depicts the London underworld and hard years of the foundling Oliver Twist, whose right to his inheritance is kept secret by the villainous Mr. Monks. Oliver suffers in a poorfarm and workhouse. He outrages authorities by asking a second bowl of porridge. From a solitary confinement he is apprenticed to a casket maker, and becomes a member of a gang of young thieves, led by Mr. Fagin. Finally Fagin is hanged at Newgate and Mr. Barnlow adopts Oliver.

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