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Charles Dickens and Victorian England
Transcript of Charles Dickens and Victorian England
Charles Dickens and Victorian England
Charles Dickens is Born
Dickens is born in Portsmouth, England, on February 2nd, 1812.
Dickens was second of the eight children of John Dickens and Elizabeth Barrow Dickens.
Queen Victoria is Born
Born in Kensington Palace, London, on May 14th, 1819.
Victoria was the only daughter of Kind Edward, Duke of Kent.
Father in Debtor's Prison
In 1824, John Dickens was arrested for debt.
At age 12, Charles was forced to begin labor at Warrens Blacking Factory at Hungerford Market.
Dickens walked 4 miles every Sunday to visit his father in prison.
John Dickens was released on May 28th.
Dropped Out of School
Dickens dropped out of school to support the family's income in 1827.
He becomes an office boy for an attorney and decides to become a journalist.
Great Reform Act
In 1831, Charles Dickens becomes engaged to Catherine Hoggart.
In 1837, Dickens began to write Oliver Twist, the story of a young, orphaned boy. This story was inspired by Dickens' own childhood. Oliver is like Dickens, working long hours in a workhouse. It is important because readers were informed about the living conditions of the poor in the Victorian Era.
The Life of Charles Dickens
Queen Victoria Crowned
Queen Victoria was crowned at the age of 18. many thought she was far too young to rule, but she was determined and ruled for 64 years.
This is when the Victorian Era officially began.
Prime Minister Resigns
In May 1839, the Prime Minister Lord Melbourne resigned, creating a political crisis.
The Bedchamber Crisis: Queen Victoria invited Troy politician Robert Peel to form a new government. Due to the condition that Peel put on the queen, she refused and Melbourne was persuaded to return to his position.
First Mines Act
In 1842, the First Mines Act was passed. This act prohibited all females and males under 10 years of age to work in the coal mines.
At the beginning of the 19th century, coal mining was preformed by men, women, and children. An accident occurred, resulting in the death 26 miners, all children.
In 1842, Dickens and his wife, Kate, went on a five month lecture tour in the United States.
Dickens visited prisons, schools, hospitals for the insane, and schools for the blind and deaf.
He also visited industrial mills, factories, and slave towns.
When he returned to England, he wrote American Notes, where he wrote about slavery. The notes included accounts of runaway slaves disfigured by their cruel, hostile masters. He brought awareness about the conditions of some through writing.
A Christmas Carol
In 1843, Dickens began to write the novella
A Christmas Carol
. It was published the holiday season of the same year. By Christmas, 6,000 copies were sold.
A Christmas Carol
had eight stage adaptations within the first two months of the book's publication. Dickens, through the voice of Scrooge, urged readers to honor Christmas in our hearts and keep it all year.
Dickens was very concerned and involved with impoverished children. He thought education could provide a better life to the children on the streets.With the help of others, the Ragged School movement was created, providing free education to children in the inner-city.
In 1851, Dickens was struck by the death of his father. In this decade, he also suffered the loss of his daughter. Additionally, Catherine Dickens suffers a nervous breakdown.
Bleak House, Darker Writing
In 1852-1853, Dickens wrote
, where "he deals with the hypocrisy of British society" (biography.com). It was considered his most complex novel. The dark events from the year before are reflected in his writing. His life events were depressing, so his writing was dark.
In 1854, Dickens' novel
was published, which was by far one of his shortest novels he has written, and also his tenth novel. It took place in the Victorian industrial Coketown, and was his only novel not to be set in London.
In October of 1853, the Crimean War began. During this war, Russia lost the allies of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia.
The Crimean War had a lasting effect on the Victorian Era as well as on Charles Dickens' writing. There were many casualties in the war, giving a depressing atmosphere to Victorian England. In later years, Charles Dickens writing reflected this.
No More Chimney Sweeps
In 1864, children under the age of 10 were banned from being chimney sweeps. Chimney sweeping was a difficult task. Children were most common for this job. As early as the age of three, chimney sweeps were put to work, as they fit inside the chimneys best. The Act for Regulation of Chimney Sweepers outlawed the use of climbing boys.
10 Hour Factory Act
In 1874, the "10 Hour Factory Act" was introduced. This reduced working hours to 10 hours per day. It also stated that children could not be employed until the age of 10 and no young person could work full time until the age of 15.
These acts were symbols of the growing change towards child labor. With his writing, Dickens helped bring these changes, as he inspired people to help the poor after reading about how awful their living conditions were.
In 1870, the Elementary Education Act was passed. This created a plan for the elementary education of all children ages 5-13. It also allowed school boards to create a network of schools and bring them under a form of supervision. A 1p ($1) fee was required per day.
In 1875, the first telephone call was made by Alexander Graham Bell. This invention shows the advancement in technology that was occurring in this period. People were getting faster means of communication, sparking the beginning of transmitting sound through electricity.
1860 marked the beginning of the industrial revolution. Major changes in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, transport, and technology began to take place. The socioeconomic and cultural changes, beginning in the United Kingdom and spreading across Europe and then the world, changed almost every aspect of daily life.
Changes included machine based manufacturing, textile industries, iron making techniques, and the use of refined coal.
In 1832, Parliament passed a law changing the British electoral system, known as the Great Reform Act.
"This was a response to many years of people criticizing the electoral system as unfair. For example, there were constituencies with only a handful of voters that elected two MPs to Parliament. In these rotten boroughs, with few voters and no secret ballot, it was easy for candidates to buy votes. Yet towns like Manchester that had grown during the previous 80 years had no MPs to represent them."
"Rotten boroughs were removed and the new towns given the right to elect MPs, although constituencies were still of uneven size. However, only men who owned property worth at least £10 could vote, which cut out most of the working classes, and only men who could afford to pay to stand for election could be MPs. This reform did not go far enough to silence all protest."
Electric Light Bulb Invented
On October 21, 1879, Thomas Edison created the first practical electric light bulb. This invention allowed many people of the Victorian Era convenient light inside their homes. The invention of the lightbulb was one of many technology improvements present in the Victorian Era.
In 1830, the first railway line in Britain was opened. This event transformed the way that the public communicated and traveled throughout the country.
Charles Dickens' writing was also hugely affected by the the first railroad. In one of his novels,
Dombey and Son
, Dickens includes the railway of 1830 of which his story is centered around.
One of the prominent events of the Victorian Era could be considered the Jack the Ripper murders. In 1888, Jack the Ripper terrorized the East End of London, filling people with terror. In total, the individual killed over five people. The actual identify of Jack the Ripper remains unknown to this day.
Jack the Ripper
Queen Victoria's Death
On January 22, 1901 Queen Victoria died at age 81 while at her large estate. The cause of her death was cerebral hemorrage, an illness in brain tissue commonly caused by trauma to the head. In total she reigned for over 63 years. In all, Queen Victoria's death marked the end of the Victorian Era.
A Tale of Two Cities
In 1859, Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities was published. This novel had over 200 million copies sold, which makes Dickens’ novel one of the most famous works in literary fiction history. A Tale of Two Cities takes place in the time of the French Revolution in Paris and London.
In 1860 to 1861, Dickens published his book Great Expectations, which was considered one of his best novels. Great Expectations is set in the early to mid-1800s in London. It’s a tale of love, wealth, refusal, poverty, and much more. In this novel, it has been taken into consideration that Great Expectations is reflected from his life in the 1850s with his past wife, to the romance portrayed in this novel.
Staplehurst Rail Crash
In 1865, Charles Dickens had gotten into a train accident. The train had come off the tracks, with ten people dead, 49 people injured, and Dickens himself a survivor. He was with Ellen Ternan (mistress) and her mother on their way back from France when the crash had happened. After that, he never fully recovered.
Charles Dickens’ Death
On June 9th 1870, at the age of 58, Charles Dickens had died of a stroke, in Kent, England. He had left his estate to John Forster (his colleague) and Georgia Hogarth (“best and truest friend”). As for his sons received a tax free sum of £800,000, and his wife who he was separated from, left her with an annual income of £600. Lastly, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, his final novel, was left unfinished.
In 1858, Dickens and his wife Catherine were separated. This separation was noticed in the Household Words and the London Times. They soon went their separate ways, and Catherine never got over this tragedy.