Today, the great author Charles John Huffman Dickens turns 200 years old. Seriously. His story is one that started out with a poor boy working in Warren’s Shoe Blacking Factory, but gradually rose to immense fame and wealth through his words. You’ve probably heard of his works: Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol and more. Who would have thought the twelve year old boy who had to work to support his family would rise to such greatness? Being poor had a lasting effect on Dickens, and shows itself in many of his stories. He worked as a clerk, a court reporter, and published a number of sketches in the Morning Chronicle under the name Boz. Dickens published The Pickwick Papers when he was 24, and soon his popularity was soaring. He embarked on numerous book tours, and was a magnificent speaker. He was the 1800s version of a superstar celebrity. Think of him as one of the Beatles. That’s how huge he was. By this point he was married to Catherine Hogarth; they had ten children, and they also lived with her sister, Mary, until her death, which had an enormous effect on Dickens. Later, Dickens and his wife were separated, and he fell in love with an actress called Ellen Ternan. Dickens was also what you could call extravagant; he dressed in bright colors and jewels, and loved his hair. His book David Copperfield is thought of as a sort of autobiography. It contains a large number of the elements from his life, and Dickens himself called it his personal favorite. His final home was Gad’s Hill Place, where he died when he was 58 years old, and he was later buried in Westminster Abbey. Thousands mourned his passing, both in Europe and overseas. Charles Dickens was undoubtedly one of the most amazing and gifted authors in history. Happy birthday!