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Selected Poetry of Charles Dickens (1812-1870)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

  1. The Ivy Green
  2. The Song of the Wreck


Notes on Life and Works

Charles Dickens was born on Feb. 7, 1812, in Portsea and grew up in Chatham. At twelve years old, his father was jailed for debt, and the entire family suffered poverty and humiliation. Young Dickens began working as a clerk in legal offices and soon, by studying shorthand, became a court reporter, eventually in the House of Commons, for various newspapers including The Morning Chronicle. Then he moved into writing. His first success, Sketches by Boz, followed his marriage on April 2, 1836, to Catherine Hogarth. Dickens wrote some twenty novels between Pickwick Papers in 1836-37 and Our Mutual Friend in 1864-65, many published chapter-by-chapter in monthly journals. These great novels include Oliver Twist (1837-39), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-39), Christmas Carol (1843), David Copperfield (1849-50), Bleak House (1852-53), Hard Times (1854), Little Dorrit (1856-57), Great Expectations (1861), and Tale of Two Cities (1859). Dickens visited Italy in 1844 and the United States and Canada in 1842, and America again in 1867-68. He was a hugely successful dramatic reader of his own works. His poems were entirely incidental to his story-telling. Self-driven and -made, Dickens and his wife separated in 1858 after having ten children. Having been weakened by decades of hard work, and rich, Dickens died June 9, 1870, at Gadshill.

Biographical information

Given name: Charles
Family name: Dickens
Birth date: 7 February 1812
Death date: 9 June 1870
Nationality: English
Family relations
          husband: Catherine Dickens
Literary period: Victorian
Occupation: novelist
First RPO edition: 2002