English author Charles Dickens (born Charles John Huffam Dickens), was born 200 years on February 7, 1812.
Considered to be one of the greatest authors of the Victorian period, he is well known for many of his works, including A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and many others. He used much of his own personal experiences and acquaintances as characters and settings in his works, and is also to be said to possess a “photographic memory”, which enabled him to bring an added clarity to his works. Many of his stories were printed in episodic format, making them inexpensive and easy for his fans to acquire, as well as enabling him to “keep them hanging” until the next installment of the story (any where from a week to up to two months!).
He was also greatly interested in social-economic and labor reform, largely due to his own experiences. He was also a well-known philanthropist in his time, helping to set up and run “Urania Cottage”, (a home, which took in “fallen women” and taught them skills to become productive and respectable in society once again) and the Great Ormund Street Hospital.
He spent many of his later years traveling and giving public readings until his health fell into serious decline. He passed from natural causes induced by stroke June 9, 1870. He was 58 years old.
An epitaph from the time of his funeral reads: “To the Memory of Charles Dickens (England‘s most popular author) who died at his residence, Higham, near Rochester, Kent, 9 June 1870, aged 58 years. He was a sympathizer with the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.” (Wikipedia)
“Be natural my children. For the writer that is natural has fulfilled all the rules of art.” — Charles Dickens, (allegedly his last words.)