Friday, June 9, 2017

Greatest Novelist of Victorian Period

By Tiffany Amber Stockton

Last month, I shared about the "seven wonders of the world" both new and ancient. If you missed that post, you can read it here: Now, let's get on with the feature for the month of June. *grins*


Who comes to YOUR mind when you read that heading? Leo Tolstoy. George Orwell. G.K. Chesterton. Alexandre Dumas. Victor Hugo. Oscar Wilde. Henry James. Virginia Woolf. All of those are renowned authors and skilled literary geniuses. Although they are contemporaries of the author heralded above, none of them are in the spotlight today.

This author had a writing style marked by abundant linguistic creativity. Satire and a gift for caricature was his forte. He worked intensively to develop unique names for his characters that would reverberate with connections for his readers, giving allegorical meaning to his novels' themes. Comparing orphans to stocks and shares, people to tug boats, or dinner-party guests to furniture are just some of this man's acclaimed flights of fancy.

Want to know who it is? Of course you do.

The man's name is Charles Dickens.

Charles was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century, critics and scholars had recognized him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories still enjoy lasting popularity today. I'm sure you've read at least one of them, and probably more.

Despite a lack of formal education, he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed extensively, was a persistent and tireless letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, education, and other social reforms. Goes to show if you have passion and a purpose, the formal training isn't always necessary.

Dickens's literary success began with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humor, satire, and keen observation of characters and society. His novels, most published in monthly or weekly installments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction. This allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience's reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback. His plots were carefully constructed, and he often wove elements from topical events into his narratives.

Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted, and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, is his best-known work of historical fiction.

Museums and festivals celebrating Dickens's life and works exist in many places with which Dickens was associated, and several statues have been erected in his honor. He's also been featured on British currency, had a high school named after him, was #41 in a list of the 100 Greatest Britons, and 5 of his books have been named in the top 100 in the UK. He's even been featured on multiple postage stamps. I'd say he left a lasting legacy that won't disappear as long as there are readers in this world.

Published Novels:
  • The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (Known as "The Pickwick Papers")
  • The Adventures of Oliver Twist
  • The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
  • The Old Curiosity Shop
  • Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty
  • The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit
  • Dombey and Son
  • David Copperfield
  • Bleak House
  • Hard Times: For These Times
  • Little Dorrit
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • Great Expectations
  • Our Mutual Friend


* Which novel(s) have you read by Charles Dickens?

* If a novelist today published his/her book in serial form, would you read it? And how often would the installments have to be made in order to maintain your interest from start to finish? Daily? Two times a week? Weekly? Twice monthly? Monthly?

* What is 1 fascinating fact about today's post which caught your eye today?

Leave answers to these questions or any feedback on the post in the comments below. Don't forget to come back on the 9th of July for my next appearance.


Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those childhood skills to become an author and speaker who has partnered with Nerium International in the anti-aging, health & wellness, and personal development industry, helping others become their best from the inside out.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have one girl and one boy, and a Retriever mix named Roxie. She has sold twenty (21) books so far and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.


  1. Tiffany, great and informative post about novelist of victoria era. I've read A Chistmas Carol, Adventures of Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities. His books are classics and as an avid reader with so many new books being released, I don't go back to read some of the classics that are shelved in our local library.

    1. I admit I'm the same, Marilyn. I have read the classics, but I don't often go back and re-read them. Having 2 kids, though, we are sharing the classics together. :)

  2. In reference to your question about serial novels, I was going to say that many of the authors that I read do a form of this as one novel picks up where the previous one left off. But then I went back to see that you were speaking of weekly or monthly installments. I think I am too impatient for that!!!

    1. Lol! Yes. I meant installments of a book or novel. I could do daily, as that's about my speed these days anyway. But weekly might be a bit much for me.

  3. I love Dickens. I've read Tale of Two Cities and Bleak House. I've probably seen every movie made by the BBC on his other books. These are usually a mini-series and leave nothing out.
    I'd read a serial installment. Daily would be good unless it was several chapters long. An author friend posted the chapters from her self-pub novella on FB everyday. So fun to grab my phone and read a chapter. Someone should probably do an App for that.

    1. I LOVE the BBC adaptations. They are awesome! As for one chapter a day? Yes. I could do that. I might even decide to do that with a novel of mine one of these days. It could be fun to garner a following and perhaps even change the characters or adapt them as comments and feedback are received.

  4. wonderful article about Dickens. I have read the Adventures of Oliver Twist and I think I have read the Christmas Carol.
    I think installments once a week would be good for me.
    the whole things was fascinating. especially the part of having no formal education.

    1. That was one of my favorite parts too, Lori. :) It goes to show you passion and talent can have a greater impact than the degree or extended formal education in a specific trade/career.

  5. Great info on Dickens. Count me as a fan though I think I've only read five of his books--maybe six. One of my favorite adaptations is the BBC version of Bleak House. It may be on Netflix still.

    1. I'd say that qualifies you as a fan. He only wrote 15 novels, and you've read over 1/3 of them. Thanks for the tip on Bleak House. I'll have to look at Netflix and see if it's there.

  6. I have read several of his novels. I also love the adaptations. Great Expectations is probably my favorite. I really need to read some more of Dickens!