Charles Dickens - Facts, Plot Summaries and Information

Dickens and His Contemporaries

The Victorian Era was a very fertile time for English literature. Advances in printing presses, and an increase in the number of people able to read, meant that works of literature were both affordable and sought after by a large public. The increased demand for reading material led to a boom in the book and newspaper publishing industry, and thousands of authors produced novels and short stories to satisfy the public demand. Most of these authors are now long forgotten, but some have stood the test of time.

These authors were contemporaries of Dickens. It is interesting to note that widely different styles of thee popular authors, in spite of the largely conformist social attitudes of Victorian society:

  • Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women

  • Edward Bulwer Lytton

  • Wilkie Collins

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Thomas Hardy

  • Leigh Hunt

  • William Wadsworth Longfellow

  • William Makepeace Thackerey

  • Leo Tolstoy

  • Anthony Trollope

  • Mark Twain

  • George Eliot

  • Thomas Carlyle

  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson

  • Edgar Allan Poe

Some of these authors influenced Dickens's writing. For example, Carlyle's nonfiction work about the French Revolution was used by Dickens as source material for A Tale of Two Cities. It is believed that Charlotte Bronte's Jayne Eyre influenced Dickens in his use of first person narrative in David Copperfield, although Dickens claimed never to have read Bronte's work.

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