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Word Count: 697
65279 Charles John Huffam Dickens was born February 7 1812 in Portsmouth and spent most of his childhood in London and Kent both of which appear frequently in his novels He started school at the age of nine but his education was interrupted when his father an amiable but careless minor civil servant was imprisoned for debt in 1824 The boy was then forced to support himself by working in a shoe-polish factory From 1824 to 1826 Dickens again attended school For the most part however he was self-educated He read a lot of books and some of his favorites were by his favorite books were written by Henry Fielding and Tobias Smollett and their influence can be discerned in Dickenss own novels In 1827 Dickens took a job as a legal clerk After learning shorthand he began working as a reporter in the courts and Parliament perhaps developing the power of precise description that was to make his creative writing so remarkable In December 1833 Dickens published the first of a series of original descriptive sketches of daily life in London using the pseudonym Boz The success of this work Sketches by Boz permitted Dickens to marry Catherine Hogarth in 1836 and led to the proposal of a similar publishing venture in collaboration with the popular artist Robert Seymour When Seymour committed suicide another artist H K Browne called Phiz who subsequently drew the pictures for most of Dickenss later works took his place Dickens took changed the loosely connected drawings and turned them into a comic narrative called The Pickwick Papers in 1836 The success of this first novel made Dickens famous At the same time it influenced the publishing industry in Great Britain being issued in a rather unusual form that of inexpensive monthly installments this method of publication quickly became popular among Dickenss peers Dickens subsequently maintained his fame with a constant stream of
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