Charles Dickens's writing career

''Now, I return to this young fellow.  And the communication I have got to make is, that he has great expectations.'' Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Dickens worked hard to compensate for his lack of education.  His first job was working as a clerk in a solicitor’s office.  After studying shorthand, he became a reporter for the Morning Chronicle, covering Parliamentary debates.  He also drew caricatures and portraits, and his Sketches by Boz were published in the Evening Chronicle and Monthly Magazine in 1836 and 1837.  Sketches by Boz came to the attention of publishers Chapman and Hall, who published The Pickwick Papers between 1836 and 1837.  

Dickens’s literary career began with the publication of The Pickwick Papers.  The well-known title is in fact a shortened version of its full name – The posthumous papers of the Pickwick Club.  Initially commissioned as captions to accompany caricaturist Robert Seymour’s work, the novel was originally serialised in 20 parts under the pseudonym Boz, and later published in book form in 1837.  Dickens’s comic portrayal of the characters of the Pickwick Club gained instant popularity, attributing the novel its cult status. 

In 1837, Dickens became the first editor of Bentley’s Magazine.  It was in these monthly pages that he serialised Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby.  He remained in this position until 1839, after which he concentrated on his novels. 

Dickens set up an amateur theatrical company in 1845 after his return from travelling in Italy.  His first project was a production of ‘Every Man in His Humour’ in 1845, followed by a variety of amateur productions that he both directed and acted in. 

Dickens continued his editorial career with a month-long stint as the editor of Daily News in 1846, ending in resignation.  In 1850, Dickens set up and edited Household Words

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