Charles Dickens was born in 1812 at Landport,
England, where his father was the clerk in the navy pay office. The family moved to London in
1815 and later to Chatham. During this time, Dickens was exceptionally happy, but in 1823, they
returned to London with their fortunes severely impaired. His father then was imprisoned because
of debt, so Dickens was removed from school and forced to work as a clerk in a blacking warehouse of
one of his relatives. When their financial situation improved however, he went back to school
until he left again at 15. He began his literary career in 1833 when he was 21 years old by publishing
his stories in newspapers and magazines. In 1836, he began doing serial publications first with
Pickwick Papers and then Oliver Twist. In April of that year, he married Catherine
Hogarth and later became the father of ten children by her. Since it was profitable and enjoyable,
Dickens continued to publish his work in weekly installments or monthly parts depending on the publication.
Between 1836 and 1870, Dickens wrote historical fiction novels, Christmas books, a travel guide, his
observations on America, and essays. In 1856, he moved to his country home in Gad's Hill and in
1858 was separated from him wife. His last completed novel was published in 1864-1865 and Dickens
died on June 9, 1870. He left one book unfinished.
Excerpts from Great Expectations Biography, Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford