His narrations are jostling and awakening for they speak of society
Charles John Huffam Dickens, an English writer, and social critic are known for creating some of the world’s best-known fictional characters. But mostly Dickens is known for being regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. The author is considered an essential part of the Western literary canon, as his work was always witty, humorous, and at times dark revealing the societal truths. Dickens’ work is in a way providing social commentary by touching upon issues like that of child labor, the class system, the French Revolution, the English legal system, religion, and more.
Dickens’ works made him a literary genius whose work enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, by the 20th century and onwards. Here are a few of Dickens’ must-read books.
This is a quintessential novel chronicling its protagonist, Pip’s journey to adulthood and his experiences of personal growth along the way. From being an orphan to becoming a gentleman, Pip learns many lessons about love, wealth, poverty, and generosity along the way. Through this novel, Dickens touches upon social strata, classism, the industrial revolution, and conflicts of morality.
A Tale of Two Cities
As the title suggests, this novel is set between London and Paris during the period of the French Revolution. It is a commentary on the parallels between the events in France and the subsequent life in London narrated through several characters. The novel is his only piece of historical fiction, and perhaps the darkest of his books.
This novel is considered to be the most autobiographical of all of Dickens’ works as it narrates the story of the protagonist from his childhood through to adulthood navigating his mother’s remarriage, boarding school, the death of his mother to ultimately, him finding true love. Dickens wrote in the preface of one edition that ‘like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favourite child. And his name is David Copperfield’. This book is an insight into Dickens’ feelings about his own life, and this narration was also said to be close to his heart.
This is often regarded as the most complex of Dickens’ novels. The enchanting approach of the novel is that it is told in part by an omniscient narrator and in part by the protagonist, Esther Summerson. The author based the story on many of his own experiences, both as a law clerk and as a litigant, with vastly complicated plot and its characters swirling around the case of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce.
A few other novels are The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend, Dombey and Son, Little Dorrit, Oliver Twist, and Nicholas Nickleby.