Charles Dickens was born on 7th February 1812. He grew up near Portsmouth on the south coast of England, before moving to London. In London he worked as a newspaper reporter and it was at this time that he started writing stories. These stories quickly became very popular. Some of his most famous works are Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and A Christmas Carol.
Dickens published his stories in installments. This meant that readers would have to wait for the next chapter until the next publication. Dickens used cliffhangers to keep people interested in the story. His novel The Old Curiosity Shop was so popular that when it came to an end, people in New York were waiting for ships to arrive from England so that they could ask people how the story had ended!
Charles Dickens was the most popular writer of the 19th century and his stories are still loved today. When he died in 1870 he received a public burial at Westminster Abbey in London.
Nine of his novels and short stories are available as Macmillan Readers:
A visitor comes to a signal-box next to a railway tunnel. The signalman tells him a frightening story. Is it true? Is there a ghost on the railway?
The Ghost at the Trial
George Fothergill listens to a trial in a court of law. A man is accused of murder. Did the man murder his friend?
A romantic thriller set against the background of the French Revolution. The story has been the source of a number of film adaptations.
“I don’t have a merry Christmas,” said Scrooge. “Christmas is nonsense. It’s humbug! I don’t believe in Christmas. I’m not giving money to anyone else so they can have a merry Christmas.”
This Reader is a retelling of Dickens’ famous story of the transformation of the cold-hearted miser, Ebenezer Scrooge.
When David Copperfield’s father dies, his mother is forced to marry Edward Murdstone, a cruel and domineering man. David’s early life is one of poverty and hardship. Finally the young boy runs away to Dover and takes refuge with a lost aunt. David goes on to make many friends and finds great success, but he must endure much suffering and loss along the way.
The Old Curiosity Shop is a classic story written by Charles Dickens and has been adapted for Intermediate level readers. The story is about Nell and her grandfather, who live in The Old Curiosity Shop. They are very poor, and when disaster strikes, Nell must protect herself and her grandfather from people who wish them harm.
‘“Please Sir, can I have some more?”’ Dickens’ famous novel about the trials of a poor young orphan boy, brought up in the terrible conditions of a 19th-century English workhouse.
It is 1852 and three young people meet for the first time in the High Court of Chancery. They are the latest victims to be caught in the long-running court case of Jarndyce vs Jarndyce. A case which has caused the financial and moral breakdown of many previous claimants.
One bleak and windy evening, 8-year-old Pip meets an escaped convict on the marshes. Shortly afterwards, he is summoned to Satis House, the derelict, gloomy home of the strange, reclusive Miss Havisham. Here, Pip meets and falls in love with the beautiful, cold-hearted Estella but can they ever be together?
‘As the boat moved silently over the water, the thing at the end of the rope always followed. Sometimes it pulled away like something alive. For the thing that followed at the end of the rope was the body of a drowned man…’
This is Dickens’ sinister story of murder and mystery set in London in the 1860s.