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Author Study: Charles Dickens Curated by Naomi LaDine '17

A page dedicated to Charles Dickens, the great Victorian writer, including Dickens' personal life, historical context, works, criticisms, and literary style

Criticism and Commentary

  Read more commentary and analysis:


Even with his shortcomings, Charles Dickens is considered one of the most—if not the most—influential writer in British history. Although legendary, Dickens is not void of criticism, his social bias and over-simplified characterization some of the most severe. However, the reasons many love Dickens are more easily apparent then the reasons few don’t: wild casts of characters; an appeal to common men, women, and children; romance; and the frequent theme of struggling against injustice. Despite his scathing social critique of society at large at the time, society at large loved him, as do readers today. However, his popularity has often been used to claim that his works have little literary quality beyond face-value, while others claim that his skill as an entertainer in no way lessens the quality of his literature.

The contrast between two of Dickens female characters, Madame Defarge and Lucie in A Tale of Two Cities, demonstrates a common grievance with Dickens' writing: that his characters are exaggerated and too purely one thing or another.