Charles Dickens Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Pickwick Papers (1837) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Adventures of Oliver Twist (1839) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby (1839) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Barnaby Rudge (1841) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Master Humphrey's Clock (1841) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Old Curiosity Shop (1841) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Christmas Carol (1843) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit (1844) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Chimes (1844) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Cricket on the Hearth (1845) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Battle of Life (1846) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dombey and Son (1848) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain (1848) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
David Copperfield (1850) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bleak House (1853) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hard Times: For These Times (1854) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Little Dorrit (1857) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Tales of Two Cities (1859) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Great Expectations (1861) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Our Mutual Friend (1865) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Sketches by Boz (1836) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Master Humphrey's Clock (1841) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Boots at the Holly-tree Inn (1858) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Reprinted Pieces (1861) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Mudfrog Papers (1880) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The most popular novelist in English literature, Charles Dickens was born on 7 February 1812 at the Commercial Road Landport, Portsea in Hampshire. His father, John Dickens was a clerk in the navy pay office. It was not easy for him to make both ends meet so he incurred debts and after struggling with them for many years, he finally shifted to Chatham when Charles was nine years of age.

It was in Chatham that he started his early schooling. He was a devout reader and preferred to gruel himself up in a corner with books rather than taking part in the mildest of physical activity. He lived in harmony for some years but soon the days of happiness came to an end. His father was arrested for non-payment of debts and sentenced for short term imprisonment.

It was under the stress of such financial conditions that Charles had to leave the school at the age of twelve. He had a find a job in the blacking factory and it was really painful to see such a promising young man working from dawn to dusk for few pennies. He was, however, relieved from this suffering when he received a small legacy from one of his relatives. His father was also set free and Charles Dickens joined Wellington House Academy at the age of sixteen. It was a brutal place and its principal was famous as the most ignorant and tyrant person. He did not learn anything at this place but the experience he gained at the school proved a fruitful source in writing Nicholas Nickleby. This novel exposes the weakness of Yorkshire schools and ignorant teachers who were in charge of young students. In 2002, director Douglas McGrath adopted this novel in the movie and its cast featured Anne Hathaway, Charlie Hunnam, and Jamie Bell.

He left the school in disgust and again went to work, but this time as a clerk in a lawyer’s office. He also began to study shorthand in order to achieve success in his career as a reporter. His progress was swift and he became a parliamentary reporter in 1830. It was largely during this period that he gained his extraordinary knowledge of London, which he used effectively in his sketches of London life.

Charles Dickens began his career as a writer with Sketches by Boz in 1836. It was a series dealing with London life in the manner and style of Leigh Hunt. However, the earliest of Charles Dicken’s work that caught appreciation was Pickwick Papers which was published in 1836. It was written at the suggestion of an editor, for serial publication. It contains some seventy distinct situations and more than four hundred characters, some of them coming on the stage only once to win for them an immortal place in our hearts.

Charles Dickens also traveled to the United States at the invitation of Washington Irving. He left for the United States in 1841 and was warmly received by the people there. But soon their praised was damped when they learned that he had strongly criticized slavery system in the United States in his Martin Chuzzlewit and American Notes. But this controversy died out when he made his second visit to the US in 1867. It was after this period that he wrote David Copperfield and Great Expectations. These two novels were also made into movies and Television series. Great Expectation was first released in 1946 and David Copperfield in 1999.

Charles Dickens is the representative of the Victorian London- the England of 1820s and 30s. He presented the capital city in all its colors, its shops, offices, slums and people. He knew the spirit of his people and gave them exactly what they wanted. His novels were not written, they were born. They were created by him for his people. He is just like the Ancient Mariner of S.T. Coleridge.

Further, his novels are also remarkable for preposterously rhetoric style and heavy moralizing. The middle class morality is always an important element of his novels. Thomas Hardy’s Tess was greeted with abuses when she tried to break the taboos but Charles Dickens prefer to stick to the public taste. Sex is carefully dramatized as it was a taboo in victorian age. It was the period of the readers who did not wish to go beyond their moral boundaries and Charles Dickens was perfectly aware of this.

The plots of his novels lack unity and are coherent. They are marked with diffuseness and discursiveness. There are elaborate passages of description and redundant detail which don’t seem to have a bearing on the development of the story. In other words, his novels are like satchel in which different objects of varying sizes and shapes have been stuffed. They contain something for everybody and the part you don’t like you can more or less ignore.
As a matter of fact, Charles Dickens was more interested in characters than in manners. Hin interest was in men and women rather than incidents. So characters are the main thing in his novels and plots are subordinate to characters. He perfectly agreed with the idea that a story should begin with characters and not with the plot. Once he had invented his characters and let them loose, he believed strongly that it was their business to tell the tale. This was the base of his novels and he developed into an art which he alone could master.

Charles Dickens died in 1870 and over his unfinished Edwin Drood and was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey. “No death since 1866,” wrote Carlyle to his wife, “has fallen on me with such a stroke. The good, the gentle, high gifted, over friendly and noble Dickens-every inch of him an honest man.”

The greatest merit of Dickens’ stories is that he brought to the service of literature an imagination, which though never poetic was elastic to the highest degree and with the help of this imagination, he created a dreamland which had a distinct reality of its own. It was only achieved by Shelley and Coleridge before him.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Charles Dickens