Charles Dickens was born in a little house in Landport, Portsea, England, on February 7, 1812. The second of eight children, he grew up in a family frequently beset by financial insecurity. When the family fortunes improved, Charles went back to school, after which he became an office boy, a freelance reporter, and finally an author. With Pickwick Papers (1836–37) he achieved immediate fame. In a few years he was easily the most popular and respected writer of his time. It has been estimated that one out of every ten persons in Victorian England was a Dickens reader. Oliver Twist (1837), Nicholas Nickleby (1838–39), and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-41) were huge successes. Martin Chuzzlewit (1843–44) was less so, but Dickens followed it with his unforgettable, A Christmas Carol (1843), Bleak House (1852–53), Hard Times (1854), and Little Dorrit (1855–57), which reveal his deepening concern for the injustices of British society. A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860–61), and Our Mutual Friend (1864–65) complete his major works.
The most gorgeously theatrical of all Dickens’ novels, Nicholas Nickleby follows the delightful adventures of a hearty young hero in nineteenth-century England. Nicholas, a gentleman’s son fallen upon hard times, must set out to make his way in the wo...[SEE MORE]