Reading time: 2 minutes

Charles Dickens is one of the best known names in English Literature.

His writing includes Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol – which are widely read today.

Who is Charles Dickens and was has made him inspire generations of authors? This blog post investigates.

Who is Charles Dickens?

Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire in 1812.

He was one of eight children and took his first job, aged 12, in a polish factory. He later began his writing career as a Westminster journalist.

Many of his stories were about people living in poverty. He actively promoted change and his stories inspired changes in parliament. 

What did Charles Dickens write?

Charles Dickens’ most famous books include:

  •  A Christmas Carol
  •  Great Expectations
  •  Oliver Twist
  •  A Tale of Two Cities

A Christmas Carol was first published in 1943. In its first eight days after publication it sold out all 6000 copies.

Oliver Twist has been turned into a popular musical and there have been several film versions of Great Expectations.

How has Charles Dickens inspired other writers?

Describing his legacy, the website ‘how Charles Dickens changed history‘, states:

His works describing the corruption of the politics and justice system put the system under instense scrutiny. His strongly written characters inspired people. whether to found orphanages for children whose mothers could not care for them, to found schools to educate the underprivileged, or to set up hospitals for those who were sick. Dickens himself worked to help many charities, setting up homes and women and lending assistance to organisations that helped educate and provide medical attention to the children living in the slums of London. Ultimately, Charles Dickens was a leader whose writing and deep-seated hatred of oppressors bettered the lives of the poor and would and will, even today, inspire others to do something to help those suffering in oppression and poverty.

In writing, Dickens has influenced generation after generation.

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-81) cites Dickens style and vision on ‘spirituality, social reconstruction and morality’. John Irvin, Anne Rice and Jane Austen also credit Dickens as a major influence.

Where can I read Dickens’ work?

His best known work is available on EDLounge.

Access to 11,000+ lessons means you can ensure children up to KS4 receive the education they need. 

To support English Literature students, works include that by Dickens, Shakespeare and Arthur Conan-Doyle.

EDLounge is partnered with Oxford University Press to provide these as e-books and audiobooks.