Happy 200th Birthday Charles Dickens!! Here are some tidbits about Dickens you might not have known!

In honour of Charles Dickens 200th birthday, The Globe and Mail’s Martin Levin wrote a column entitled “Ten things you may not have known about Charles Dickens” and it was quite hilarious. So I am going to pass it on to you! So without further ado, here they are:

  1. Before he was a famous novelist, Dickens was a political journalist, publishing a collection of his work in Sketches by Boz.
  2. When his pet raven, Grip, died, Dickens had it stuffed and mounted. A talking raven in one of Dicken’s lesser-known works, Barnaby Rudge, was the inspiration for Poe’s The Raven.
  3. In hotels, the obsessive-compulsive Dickens generally rearranged the the furniture. He sent rebuking notes to his children about keeping their nurseries organized. He combed his hair 100 times a day. (Is this OCD? It seemed normal when Marcia Brady did it)
  4. Dickens had 10 children with his wife, Catherine Hogarth, whom he eventually humiliated. His third son, Francis, nicknamed “Chickenstalker,” served in Canada’s North-West Mounted Police for 12 years and led the defense of Fort Pitt during the Northwest Rebellion of 1885. (I would like to know more about this… Like how did he son come upon a nickname such as “Chickenstalker”)
  5. Dicken’s great love was his sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth. when she died at 17, the novelist, then 25 and enjoying his first great success with The Pickwick Papers, was numb with grief. He took from her finger a ring that he wore for the rest of his life. (What a great husband.. while she is looking after the 10 kids!)
  6. Dickens had almost demonic energy. Often unable to sleep, he would take long night walks through the streets of London. (He probably couldn’t sleep with 10 children in the house)
  7. During his tour of the United States in 1842, he fruitlessly urged the merits of international copyright on piratical American publishers. That experience coloured the negative views of the country in Martin Chuzzlewit and American Notes, which included a withering attack on slavery.
  8. At his country home, Gad’s Hill, Dickens had a fake bookcase that concealed a secret door. It was filled with such bogus titles as Noah’s Arkitecture and Was Shakespeare’s Mother Fat? (Maybe he knew the robbers would not be able to read)
  9. In 1865, Dickens and his mistress, actress Ellen Ternan, were involved in a train wreck in which their first-class carriage was the only one of eight cars not to plunge into the river. Dickens helped other passengers to safety and then returned to save the manuscript of Our Mutual Friend. (What a great guy! Saving people before his own manuscript. By the way, he was there with his mistress! Maybe this was a sign…)
  10. Dickens has, and has, his detractors. Henry James called Our Mutual Friend, “lifeless, forced and mechanical,” Oscar Wilde is reputed to have said of the sentimentalized heroine of The Old Curiosity Shop: “One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.” (I’ve hear worst reviews then this before)
If you are a huge lover of Dickens I would suggest checking out from friend’s blog! She is conducting a Charles Dickens Challenge! Check it out!!
I hope you enjoyed!! 😀 I know I had a laugh or two!

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