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A Patron Returned to Maryland Library Nearly 75 Years After It Was Due

Charles Dickens wrote it all down-the gruesome truths about Victorian England and the perils of Britain's social class system. His unprecedented celebrity made him the most popular novelist of all time his century, and since then Charles Dickens's books have never been out of print. But the author of Great Expectations, Bleak House and dozens of other works what more than just a writer. Here are 17 facts about Charles Dickens on his 207th birthday.

1. Charles Dickens was forced to work at a young age.

The eldest son of Elizabeth and John Dickens was born in Portsmouth in the British city of Portsmouth in February 1

812, and moved to his family in Yorkshire and then London. Hey what, admittedly, a "very small and not over-taken-care-of-boy."

When his father called to London again to be a clerk in the Naval Pay Office, the elder Dickens amassed so much Fanny-were sent to Marshalsea's debtors' prison Little Dorrit ).

Left to fend for himself at only 12

2. Another job taught by Charles Dickens How to write

In 1827 and 1828, the 15-year-old Dickens found work as a junior clerk at the Law Office of Ellis and Blackmore-but instead of brushing up on a legal work, he pre-examines the shorthand Thomas Gurney, The skill Morning Chronicle .

3. Charles Dickens published works under a pseudonym.

Dickens's first published works appeared in 1833 and 1834 without his author's byline. In August 1834, his short story "The Boarding-House," published in the Monthly Magazine featured his chosen pseudonym, "Boz."

The single-syllable name came from a childhood rendering of the Character of Moses from Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith's 1766 novel The Vicar of Wakefield later mentioned in Dickens's own A Tale of Two Cities .

Dickens called his brother Augustus "Moses," but later explained it was "facetiously pronounced through the nose, [and] became Boses, and was shortened, became Boz. Boz was a very familiar household word for me, so I came to adopt it. "

The nom de plume became a compilation of his essays and short fiction called Sketches by Boz in 1839.

4. Charles Dickens's fame kept a certain idiom alive.

The phrase "what the thickens," first mentioned in Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor which is a euphemism for conjuring the devil. In his book Other Dickens: Pickwick to Chuzzlewit author John Bowen Explained the name "a substitute for the devil," or "the devil," the doubling of the devil in short. "

Dickens allegedly used the pseudonym Boz to deflect any unseemly comparisons to Satan, but once his real name was revealed and the public became familiar with his work, Dickens ended up keeping the then-200-year-old phrase en vogue .

5. Charles Dickens may have had epilepsy.

[citation needed] [citation needed] own experiences with seizures.

Characters such as Guster from Bleak House Monks from Oliver Twist and Bradley Headstone from Our Mutual Friend all suffered from epilepsy .

. 6 Charles Dickens's favorite place.

American Express for General Circulation -Dickens an international celebrity because of

"I can do nothing that I want to do, nowhere where I want to go, and see nothing that I want to see, he complained in a letter about his US travels. "If I turn into the street, I followed by a multitude."

Dickens did not have the best time on the road whole. Especially in the country's capital: "As Washington may be the headquarters of tobacco-tinctured saliva," he wrote, "the time is come when I must confess, without any disguise, that the prevalence of those two odious practices of chewing and expectorating began to be offensive and sickening. "

7. Sir John Franklin expedition

Sir Jane Franklin, who disappeared in the Arctic along with 128 crew on the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror while searching for the Northwest Passage in 1845. He wrote a two-part analysis of the ill-fated voyage called "The Lost Arctic Voyagers," and even lectured on Britain hoping to Raise money for a rescue mission.

Fate has been proposed until 2014 and 2016, respectively, and various explanations for the crew's fate have been proposed. But at the time, Dickens gave in to racist sentiment and blamed the Inuit, writing, "No one can, with any show of reason, undertake to affirm that this remnant of Franklin's gallant band were not set upon and slain by the Esquimaux themselves … We believe every savage to be in his heart covetous, treacherous, and cruel. " Franklin's men actually died from starvation, disease, or exposure.

8. Charles Dickens perfected the cliffhanger ending.

David Copperfield and Oliver Twist -were originally written in monthly, weekly, or infrequent installments on a subscription basis or in magazines, only to be republished in complete book form later. In doing so, Dickens employed clipphangers from chapter to chapter to get subsequent readers to episodes episode.

In one 1841 incident, American readers were so anxious to know what happened at Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop that They are flocked to docks in New York Harbor, they are from the Netherlands. (Spoiler alert: She did.)

9. Dickens owned a beloved raven he named Grip, and it even appears as a character in his novel Barnaby Rudge . In an 1841 letter to a friend named George Cattermole, Dickens said he was the titular character of the book "Always in company with a pet raven, who is immeasurably more acquainted than himself."

Following the bird's death from eating paint chips later that year, Dickens replaced it with another raven, so called Grip, which was allegedly the inspiration behind Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven." When the second Grip met his demise, Dickens had a taxidermist stuff and mount the bird in an elaborate wooden and glass case, which is now in the Free Library of Philadelphia's collection

10. Charles Dickens, therefore, kept his pet cat for a while.

Not to be outdone by birds, companions of the feline variety, and thus fitting Dickens throughout his life, with the author once declaring, "What greater poison

When his cat Bob died in 1862, he had his paw stuffed and mounted to an ivory letter opener and engraved with "CD, In memory of Bob, 1862." The letter opener is now on display at the Berg Collection o f English and American Literature at the New York Public Library.

11. Charles Dickens revealed that he was earliest inspiration for Little Red Riding Hood.

In 1850, Dickens began editing a weekly magazine, Household Words to which he also contributed short fiction and serialized novels. In one of his first stories for the magazine, "A Christmas Tree," Dickens described his earliest muse as the main character in the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood -perhaps as a way of dealing with his own childhood innocence devoured by unexpected evils. "She was my first love," he wrote. Little Red Riding Hood, I should have known perfect bliss. But, it's not to be. "


In an 1860 letter written to Florence Marryat, the daughter of his friend Captain Frederick Marryat, Dickens All the Year Round


"To read professed contributions honestly, and communicate a perfectly unprejudiced decision respecting every one of them to their author or authoress, is a task, of the magnitude of which you evidently have no conception, "Dickens told her. "I can not […] old what seems to be the fact about this story (for instance), any more than I can old my eyesight or my hearing. I do not deem it suitable for my journal, "and later telling her plainly,"

13. Charles Dickens was a prodigious wordsmith.

William Shakespeare, Dickens was the other British writer known to create words and phrases of his own. Thank Dickens for words and phrases like butter-fingers, flummox, the creeps, dustbin, ugsome, slangular, and more.

14. Charles Dickens starts a home for "falling women."

Angela Coutts, Dickens set up and effectively managed Urania Cottage, a rehabilitation home for homeless women, ex-prisoners, and prostitutes so they could (hopefully According to The Guardian Dickens would "visit the house in Shepherd's Bush, often several times a week, to supervise it, select inmates, consult with prison governors, hire and fire matrons, deal with the drains and the gardeners, report to Coutts in detail on several occasions a week on what is happening there, handle the money, keep careful written accounts of the girls' backgrounds, and arrange their emigration to Australia, South Africa, or Canada. "

15. Charles Dickens was a Victorian ghostbuster.

In an era of séances and mediums, when many Victorians believed in both spiritualism and science, Dickens did not discriminate. In fact, along with other authors like Arthur Conan Doyle and William Butler Yeats, he was a member of the Ghost Club, a child of members-only group that attempted to investigate supernatural suspects and hauntings, often exposing frauds in the process. A Christmas Carol hinges on the supernatural. But unlike Conan Doyle, he remains a skeptic.

"My own mind is perfectly unprejudiced and impressible on the subject. I do not in the least pretend that such things are not, "Dickens said in a September 1859 letter to writer William Howitt. "But … Ghost Story that was proved to me, or that had not the noticeable peculiarity in it – that the alteration of some slight circumstance would bring it within the range of common natural probabilities."

16th A train crash nearly derailed Our Mutual Friend.

On June 10, 1865, Dickens was traveling home from France when his train was derailed while crossing a bridge, and his car was left dangling from the tracks. 53-year-old writer helped save stranded passengers.

When all said and done, he was forced Our Mutual Friend that he was supposed to send to his publishers.

17. Charles Dickens was buried in Westminster Abbey against his wishes.

The author had specific plans for how he wanted to spend eternity. Catherine's sister, his muse Mary Hogarth (who had died in 1837 and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery in London).

Dickens collapsed from a stroke while dining with his other sister, Georgina Hogarth, at his home; he died on June 9, 1870. But he did not end up in either of his chosen spots. Instead, he whatsoever away to the poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey because of the Dean of Westminster, Arthur Stanley, wanted a famous writer to give it some cultural significance to the Abbey at the time.

Despite stipulating in his will that "no public announcement made at the time or place of my burial

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