The Topic:
Charles Dickens

Make sure that you visit the companion page to this site, Works by Charles Dickens, where you can connect to websites for Charles Dickens' published writings. It includes sites for his novels, short stories, mysteries, and essays - - all arranged A to Z.
Easier - Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was an English novelist and one of the most popular writers of all time. Dickens received greater recognition during his lifetime than previous authors. He wrote colorful and exciting novels that brought attention to the poverty and social injustices of 19th century England.
Harder - Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth, England. When he was about two years of age, he moved with his family to London. Dickens' father, John, labored as a navy clerk. While Charles was still a young boy, his father was sent to debtor's prison. During that time, Charles briefly worked in a London factory pasting labels on shoe polish bottles. Even after his father's release, John's work barely provided enough money to support the family. Charles Dickens attended school sporadically until he was fifteen years old.
Charles was an avid reader whose interests included adventure stories, fairy tales, and novels. Dickens was undoubtedly influenced by earlier English writers such as William Shakespeare and Henry Fielding; however, much of the knowledge and insights that he later applied as an author came from his keen observations and experiences. He became a newspaper reporter before he was twenty, covering debates in Parliament and writing feature articles. In 1836, Dickens published his first book, Sketches by Boz, a collection of articles that he had written for Monthly Magazine and the London Evening Chronicle. Shortly thereafter, he gained public literary fame with The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.
Dickens exhibited warmth and humor and great understanding of humanity, especially young people. Besides writing and editing, Dickens toured as a dramatic reader and busied himself with charities that included schools for poor children and a loan society to assist poor people immigrate to Australia. His writing empathized with the poor and helpless and mocked or criticized the selfish, the greedy, and the cruel. His major works included David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickleby, Pickwick Papers, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Christmas Carol. Around 1865, Dickens' health began to decline and he died of a stroke on June 9, 1870. At that time, he had completed about one-third of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Scholars have debated how he intended for that story to end and have suggested possible solutions to the mystery.
Charles Dickens
This comprehensive collection of links connects to online works, biography, historical background, and other online sites about Charles Dickens.
Charles Dickens Page by D. Perdue
This site provides a comprehensive guide to Dickens's life and writings. It includes a timeline, a map of London during his time, and in-depth discussion of Dickensian characters.
Related Sites for Charles Dickens:
2) Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
3) Charles Dickens from Spectrum Biographies
4) Charles Dickens Gad's Hill Place
5) Charles Dickens' Journal from Charles Dickens LIVE!
6) Charles Dickens's Journalistic Career by J. Diedrick, Albion College
7)Charles Dickens: Novelist from Spartacus Educational
8) Life of Dickens by S. Hackenberg and R. Johnson, Stanford University
9) Charles Dickens by W. Erleben
10) World of Charles Dickens
Dickens Made Simple
This site is intended as an aid to reading and understanding Charles Dickens's writings. Here you'll find plot reviews and character lists, as well as links to sites for his books.
Talking to Charles Dickens
Want to know more about Charles Dickens? Have a browse. The answers and opinions here are written by leading experts on Dickens.
After visiting several of the websites, complete one or more of these projects about Charles Dickens.
Compare And Contrast Dickens With Another Victorian Writer. Examine the life and works of another writer of the Victorian Era. You can start by selecting a writer from Authors Discussed in the Victorian Web. Identify the ways that they are alike and how they differ. An alternative comparison and analysis project would be to compare Dickens' London to a modern city of today.
Compare and Contrast Child Labor Today With Conditions Of Dickens' Time. Think globally, but also don't forget the situation at home. You may find some assistance at sites such as these:
1) Child Labor
2) Child Labor from Human Rights Watch
3) Child Labor from International Labor Organization (ILO)
4) Child Labor Coalition (CLC)
5) Child Labor Statistics from U.S. Department of Labor
6) Fields of Hope: Child Labor in Agriculture
7) Global March Against Child Labour
8) Secret Child Labor in America by D. Foster and F. Kramer
Complete A Dickens WebQuest. Adapt or follow the instructions and procedures found at the webQuest site.
1) Charles Dickens' Victorian England
2) Charles Dickens WebQuest (Grades 11-12) by L. Anderson
3) Scrooge for Mayor
4) Victorian Intrigue WebQuest (Grades 10-12) by L.H. Light
5) Welcome to the Dickens House (Grades 6-9) by E. Bergstresser, Network for
Instructional TV
6) What's the Issue? A WebQuest full of Great Expectations by J. Cowley-Donaldson
Celebrate Charles Dickens' Birthday. Many call February 7th, Charles Dickens Day, in honor of his birthday (1812). Dress up in Victorian costumes. Prepare some food from the era. Create a bulletin board display featuring his life and achievements.
Read Dickens. You can find many of his written work online at Works by Charles Dickens, a companion 42eXplore webpage from eduScapes.
Visit Victorian London. Dickens wrote about his travels to the United States in 'American Notes.' Pretend that you are visiting his Victorian London. Explore the websites about life in Victorian England, then write a series of journal articles about your 'virtual visit.' Tell us what you learn and think about the life and times of that period. Compare life there to life in the U.S.
More Great Dickens Websites
Charles Dickens: A Critical Study (1898) by G. Gissing
This site contains the literary criticism of an author who was deeply influenced by Dickens.
Other Critical Studies of Dickens' Works:
2) Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens by G.L. Chesterton from The
Literature Network
3) 19th-Century Gallery from The Dickens Fellowship
4) Charles Dickens by G. Orwell from The Literature Network
5) Charles Dickens by Jane Smiley: A Review by D. Lodge
6) City of Dickens by A. Welsh
7) Dickens from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature
8) Dickens's Narrative Technique by I. Mackean
9) Immortal Dickens (1925) by G. Gissing
10) Puzzle of Dickens's Last Plot, The by A. Lang from The Gutenberg Project
11) Vanishing Points: Dickens, Narrative, & the Subject of Omniscience by A. Jaffe
Christmas Carol and Its Adaptations by F. Guida
The pages feature information about lost film versions of the Carol, previously unpublished screen photos, and a complete annotated filmography.
Related Website:
2) About The Christmas Carol by L. Rosewood Hooper
Concordances - Dickens, Charles by W.A. Williams, Jr.,
Select a word or phrase and search for its occurrence in one of Dickens' fifty-five published works.
David Copperfield from Turner Learning, Inc.
Issues of child abuse, domestic violence, child labor, school peers and teachers, homeless children, and young love - all topics of importance and relevance to today's youth, yes? These same issues are the essence of David Copperfield, a semi-autobiographical novel written by Charles Dickens back in 1849.
Related Websites:
2) David Copperfield from Barron's BookNotes
3) David Copperfield from PBS
4) David Copperfield from Turner Learning, Inc.
Dickens from BBC Interactive
Read on for a live chat with Peter Ackroyd, the secrets from our Dickens expert and the chance to see if you can survive Dickensian London.
Dickens House Museum, London
Learn about 48 Doughty Street, the legendary home where Dickens composed Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby.
Related Websites:
2) Charles Dickens
3) Charles Dickens Museum (Birthplace)
Duality in "A Tale of Two Cities" by F. Çubukçu
This brief critical analysis examines the Dickens' ambivalence for the violence brought by the Revolution.
Related Website:
2) French Revolution in the Popular Imagination: A Tale of Two Cities by M. Kiran-Raw
Great Expectations Reading Guide from Penguin Classics
Considered by many critics to be Charles Dickens's most psychologically acute self-portrait, Great Expectations is without a doubt one of Dickens's most fully-realized literary creations.
Related Websites:
2) Great Expectations from PinkMonkey Literature Notes
Great Expectations from Barron's Booknotes 3)
Letters of Charles Dickens to Wilkie Collins, edited by L. Hutton
William Wilkie Collins was a man of five or six and twenty when he first met Charles Dickens, in 1851. Dickens was nearly forty years of age. The friendship and recognition of such a man were of inestimable value to the younger writer; and the intimacy continued unbroken until Dickens died in 1870.
Oliver Twist from PBS's ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre
Readers have been fascinated and shocked by Dickens's tale of life on the mean streets of London ever since the story was first published in 1837. This site was built to accompany the six-hour adaptation of Charles Dickens's complex and compelling novel.
Other Websites for Oliver Twist:
2) Oliver Twist from Barron's BookNotes
3) Oliver Twist from MonkeyNotes
Websites on the Victorian Period
Chadwick's Report on Sanitary Conditions (London, 1842)
This report came from the Poor Law Commissioners on an inquiry into the sanitary conditions of the laboring population of Great Britain.
Charles Dickens from The Victorian Web
Here you find an overview of Charles Dickens' life and works. Read about the politics, religion, and society during his lifetime.
Child Labour 1750-1850 from Encyclopaedia of British History
Learn about the child labor conditions and the fight for reform.
Related Websites:
2) Act to regulate the Labor of Children and Young Persons in the Mills and Factories of the United Kingdom (1833)
3) Child Labor by D. Cody from The Victorian Web
4) Child Labor In Victorian England from Free Essays
5) Conditions of the Working Classes and Child Labor by F.H. Silverio
6) Factory Children: The Conditions of Labor, 1832
7) Factories and Mines: Report on Child Labor, 1843
8) Sadler Committee's Report on Child Labor in England - 1832
French Revolution by R. Hilton
This site summarizes the causes, events leading to, and significance of the French Revolution.
Other Sites for the French Revolution:
2) Condition of the July Monarchy, 1830-1848 by F. Guizot from Modern History Sourcebook
3) French Revolution in 1848 by P.B. St. John from Modern History Sourcebook
4) French Revolution Home Page by P. Larson (Links-site)
5) History of the Revolution of 1848 in France by A. de Lamartine from Modern History
Penny Magazine
The Penny Magazine, published every Saturday, was aimed at the working class: however, it was a source of information on subjects of general interest - - everyday things like tea and coffee, well-known places in England, a series on animals and birds of Britain, descriptions of present-day manufacturing, and a serial of a personal account of an immigrant's problems.
If you were poverty-stricken, or an unwanted orphan, or an impoverished widow, if you were too old to work, or if you were on the tramp, or you were sick or deranged, you could end up in the dreaded union workhouse. The workhouse, sometimes referred to as the Bastille, was a ruthless attempt in 19th century England to solve the problem of poverty.
Related Website:
2) Union Workhouse
Victorian Period in England by D. Ross
Examine the people, life, and events of the Victorian era.
Related Websites:
2) All the Year 'Round
3) City of Shadows: A Gothic Tour of Victorian London by E. Stegenga
4) Victoria Research Web from Indiana University
5) Victoriana Sudy Center
6) Victorian London in Depth
7) Victorian Medicine by H. Hattemer
8) Victorians
9) Victorian Station
Websites For Teachers
Charles Dickens: A Tale of Ambition and Genius (Grades 7-12) from A&E Classroom
This guide was designed to accompany the video program. It contains vocabulary, discussion questions, and extended activities for the classroom.
Christmas Carol from Turner Learning, Inc.
For over 150 years, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has been the quintessential holiday classic. This site was designed to support Turner's 1999 production. In addition to a synopsis and list of characters, this site contains student handouts, discussion questions, and a not to be missed: "Being Tiny Tim" and "The Many Versions of A Christmas Carol."
Related Websites:
2) Character and Choices: Dickens' A Christmas Carol by J.Gillard
3) Learning Guide for A Christmas Carol from TeachWithMovies
Dickens Electronic Archive from The Dickens Project, University of California
Welcome to the place to find resources for reading, studying, and teaching the novels of Charles Dickens and his era.
Dickens of a Project by C. Naegle & K. Ward from Clovis Unified School District, CA
This website has a threefold purpose: to enhance narrative and expository reading instruction, and to study the life and works of the classical author, Charles Dickens, and to connect to state standards.
Discovering Dickens by L.L. Davis from Schools of California Online Resources for Educators (SCORE) Project
This standards-based CyberGuide helps students learn about the life and times of Charles Dickens. During these lessons, students take a virtual tour of one of Dickens' homes, read a letter from Dickens, study a chronology of his life and works, and read descriptions of Dickens by his family and friends. Students then produce a chart comparing life in Dickens house to their own, create an illustrated timeline of Dickens' life, write a diary entry, design a storyboard, and translate a Dickens' letter into contemporary language.
Give Your Students the Dickens! from Education World
Do you dread teaching the work of Charles Dickens? Do your students groan at the mere mention of his name? Explore some of the student-friendly Dickens Websites and hear from some of the teachers and Dickens fans who created them.
Reading Great Expectations: Resource Materials for Teaching and Study
This site houses a collection of activities, projects, and writing assignments based on various aspects of the novel.
Related Websites:
2) Donna Denizé from Annenberg/CPB Channel's In Search of the Novel
3) Great Expectations from Schools of California Online Resources for Educators (SCORE)
4) Great Expectations (Learning Guide) from TeachWithMovies
5) Great Expectations (Grades 9-12) from Discovery School
6) Great Expectations Novel Idea from Net Lesson Exchange
Old Curiosity Shop from Teach With Movies
This learning guide follows the riveting tale of adventure, devotion and redemption and the travails of saintly Little Nell as she tries to save her Grandfather, a compulsive gambler.
Teaching Oliver Twist from PBS Masterpiece Theatre
The Web site for Oliver Twist offers a wealth of resources and activities for your students.
Related Websites:
2) Oliver from Teach With Movies
3) Oliver Twist from Teach With Movies
Teaching A Tale of Two Cities (Grade 9) by J.L. Colle from Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
This unit addresses several questions that relate to the teaching of the novel. What did historians or philosophers during the latter part of the eighteenth-century think of the French Revolution? What did Dickens, himself a Victorian, think of it sixty years after it had occurred? What have critics—Victorian as well as modern—said about the novel? And, finally, what are the best ways to teach such a novel to students who may be reluctant to read any extended prose work?
Related Websites:
2) Tale of Two Cities from Family Education Network
3) Tale of Two Cities from Teach With Movies
Charles Dickens
social reform
pen name
labor movement
child abuse
short story
working class
urban crime
War of 1812
short story
Victorian period
debtor's prison
French Revolution
juvenile reformatory
William Shakespeare
Gad's Hill
industrial revolution
lecture tour
orphan train
Westminster Abbey
Mark Twain
penny theatre
class structure
Victorian literature
working conditions
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 12/02.