Charles Dickens can easily be termed as a phenomenon. The English writer and social critic was a hardworking journalist and a great novelist. He created some of the most cherished characters in literature: the Artful Dodger, Mr Pickwick, Pip, David Copperfield, Little Nell, Lady Dedlock, and many more.
Here we take a look at his 10 books that should be on every Millennial’s list.
1. Great Expectations
In what may be Dickens’s best novel, humble, orphaned Pip is apprenticed to the dirty work of the forge but dares to dream of becoming a gentleman — and one day, under sudden and enigmatic circumstances, he finds himself in possession of “great expectations.”
2. A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities, portrays a world on fire, split between Paris and London during the brutal and bloody events of the French Revolution.
3. Bleak House
Regarded as Dickens’ masterpiece, the plot revolves around a long-running legal case entitled Jarndyce vs Jarndyce. Mixing romance, mystery, comedy, and satire, Bleak House limns the suffering caused by the intricate inefficiency of the law.
4. The Adventures of Oliver Twist
The Adventures of Oliver Twist is the story of a young orphan. It revolves around his childhood in a workhouse, his subsequent apprenticeship with an undertaker, his escape to London and finally his acquaintance with the Artful Dodger. It is both an angry indictment of poverty, and an adventure filled with an air of threat and pervasive evil.
5. A Christmas Carol
Ebenezer Scrooge is a bitter, cold-hearted old miser lacking in Christmas spirit. He is visited by four ghosts, the ghost of his former business partner and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, who take Scrooge on respective journeys. One of the best-loved Yuletide tales by Dickens, a Christmas Carol is filled with compassion and humor.
6. David Copperfield
David Copperfield is the story of a young man’s adventures on his journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. In David Copperfield – the novel he described as his ‘favourite child’ – Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of the most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure.
7. Little Dorrit
A masterly evocation of the state and psychology of imprisonment, Little Dorrit is one of the supreme works of Dickens’s maturity.
8. The Pickwick Papers
Few first novels have created as much popular excitement as The Pickwick Papers – a comic masterpiece that catapulted its twenty-four-year-old author to immediate fame. Readers were captivated by the adventures of the poet Snodgrass, the lover Tupman, the sportsman Winkle and, above all, by that quintessentially English Quixote, Mr Pickwick, and his cockney Sancho Panza, Sam Weller.
9. Our Mutual Friend
Charles Dickens’s last complete novel, Our Mutual Friend is a glorious satire spanning all levels of Victorian society. It centres on an inheritance – Old Harmon’s profitable dust heaps – and its legatees, young John Harmon, presumed drowned when a body is pulled out of the River Thames, and kindly dustman Mr Boffin, to whom the fortune defaults. The novel is richly symbolic in its vision of death and renewal in a city dominated by the fetid Thames, and the corrupting power of money.
10. Dombey and Son
A compelling depiction of a man imprisoned by his own pride, Dombey and Son explores the devastating effects of emotional deprivation on a dysfunctional family and on society as a whole. In his introduction, Andrew Sanders discusses the character of Paul Dombey, business and family relationships in Dombey and Son and their similarities to Dickens’s own childhood.