Charles Dickens (1812-1870) Timeline

7 Feb 1812
Birth of Charles Dickens
1817
Charles Dickens enjoys a happy childhood in Chatham, England.
1822
Charles Dickens living and working in London
1824
The father of Charles Dickens is sent to prison for debt and Charles is withdrawn from school to work in a factory. This experience will inform many of his writings about the plight of the working class. Images of prison and of a lost, oppressed, or bewil
1832
Drawn to the theater, a young Charles Dickens nearly becomes a professional actor. Later in life, he will satisfy his passion for performing with hundreds of animated public readings of his own books.
1833
Charles Dickens begins to contribute stories and essays to magazines and newspapers.
1834
Charles Dickens is working as a journalist for the Liberal Benthamite Morning Chronicle, an experience that greatly affects his political outlook.
1836
The Pickwick Papers
1836
Charles Dickens writes two plays and a pamphlet arguing that the poor should be allowed to enjoy the Sabbath.
1836
Dickens resigns from newspaper job to edit Bentley's Miscellany
Apr 1836
Dickens marries Catherine, the eldest daughter of a respected Scottish journalist George Hogarth.
1837
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
1838
Charles Dickens publishes Nicholas Nickleby in 20 serial installments.
1840
Charles Dickens publishes The Old Curiosity Shop in short weekly installments.
1841
Charles Dickens publishes Barnaby Rudge in short weekly installments.
1841
Charles Dickens vacations in America; is received as celebrity
1842
American Notes published by Charles Dickens.
1843
Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
1843
While working on Martin Chuzzlewit, Charles Dickens writes A Christmas Carol on the side in just a few weeks. It is published the same year and becomes one of his most popular and beloved works.
1844
In the New Spirit of the Age, R.H. Horne describes Charles Dickens as "in private, very much what might be expected from his works.... His conversation is genial.... [He] has singular personal activity, and is fond of games of practical skill. He is als
1844
Charles Dickens travels in Italy.
1846
Charles Dickens publishes Dombey and Son in serialized form.
1846
Charles Dickens is traveling in Switzerland and France.
1846
Charles Dickens writes Dombey and Son.
1849
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
1852
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
1854
Hard Times by Charles Dickens
1855
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
1856
Charles Dickens is increasingly unhappy in general and in his marriage. He writes to his friend Forster: "I find the skeleton in my domestic closet is becoming a pretty big one."
Aug 1857
Charles Dickens performs in the play The Frozen Deep with Ellen "Nelly" Ternan, with whom he begins a relationship that will continue until his death.
Apr 1858
Charles Dickens begins performing paid readings of his works, especially A Christmas Carol. An enthusiastic and skilled performer, he will give some 470 such readings over the next decade.
May 1858
Charles and Catherine Dickens separate, creating a scandal that Dickens does not handle tactfully. This results in the loss of some friends, but his public popularity is mostly unaffected.
1859
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
1860
Charles Dickens moves out of London to a house in Gad's Hill, near his childhood home in Chatham, Kent.
1860
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
1864
Charles Dickens publishes Our Mutual Friend.
1867
Charles Dickens brings reading tour to America
Apr 1869
His health in decline since his strenuous American reading tour, Charles Dickens collapses. He is forced to cancel his planned farewell reading tour, but still performs some readings in London.
9 Jun 1870
Death of Charles Dickens in Kent, England
10 Jun 1870
An obituary of Charles Dickens in The Times describes him as "an able and strong-minded man, who would have succeeded in almost any profession to which he devoted himself."