A Christmas Carol is one of the most beloved books, a true classic. It has been adapted into cartoons, movies, and audiobooks. You’d be hard-pressed to find a person who does not know at least part of this tale.
More fascinating than this story is the man who wrote it. Charles Dickens was an artist, a creator with hundreds of characters inside of him. His stories, which were published in serial form, were read by people all over the country.
We can’t cover Dickens’ story with all its marvelous chapters in a blog post. Several biographies have been written about him, if you want to know more. However, in a blog post I can collect facts, adding color to the creator of Ebenezer Scrooge.
Here are 3 facts about Charles Dickens.
1- His Wife was an Author
Charles Dickens’ wife, Catherine, was also an author—though she published her books using a pseudonym, a common practice for women at the time who dared put words to paper. Even her husband tended to write with a pen name.
Catherine’s pseudonym was Lady Maria Clutterbuck. Her book was about kitchen recipes and menu ideas for meals that would serve up to 18 people.
2- He had a Troubled Childhood
As an adult, Dickens found himself under financial strain with 10 children to support. He was quick to anger and vented it on Catherine, blaming the situation on her.
His struggle with debt must have reminded him of his dark childhood. Charles was one of eight children with a father unable to maintain his family. When Charles was twelve, his father John Dickens was sent to debtors’ prison, dooming his son to work in a factory to bail him out.
Charles’ complicated past surfaces in his literary works. It was too much for Charles and Catherine Dickens’ marriage. Eventually he sent her away, throwing himself into his work.
3- He was a Self-Taught Writer
Charles Dickens had a second job as a legal clerk. It did not captivate him as much as storytelling. The art of writing was self-taught; the first story that Dickens published was The Pickwick Papers.
All of this he achieved without having had a formal education. It goes to show that, when someone is born to do something, there is nothing that can stop them. Now Charles Dickens is one of the greatest names in literature; people still love his characters.
Many great authors had happy families and comfortable lives; others found themselves in survival mode from childhood. Charles Dickens was an imperfect man in the end. This does not take away his genius.
Charles Dickens used his childhood haunts to give us characters that we love, writing tales into which we can escape from our imperfect world.