Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens died on 9 June 1870, but 150 years on from his death, the characters he created in his novels remain some of the most memorable and vivid in the whole of English literature. His characters, as Jenny Hartley puts it, like the characters of very few other writers, “step out of the novel and roam the world”. Hartley chooses her Best Charles Dickens Books, two novels, his letters, a biography and some criticism and discusses his place in English literature, and his works’ relationship with Victorian society and with his own life.

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, professor of English literature at Oxford, looks at Dickens and Christmas and how the author contributed to the modern culture of Christmas, not just through A Christmas Carol, but through his other writings.

Illustrative of the breadth of Dickens’ popularity and appeal is not just that A Tale of Two Cities is one of our most widely recommended books, but that it has been chosen to illustrate The Best Books on Progressive AmericaBestsellersLife in Iraq During Invasion and A World Without Poverty. It’s testimony to the fact that Charles Dickens’s books remain relevant to today’s readers.

Books by Charles Dickens

Interviews where books by Charles Dickens were recommended

Jeffrey Archer on Bestsellers

The best books are the ones that tell great stories, says bestselling author and former British politician Jeffrey Archer. Here, he shares some of his favourites, popular novels that went down well with readers but are sometimes still looked down on by the literary establishment.

The best books on Dickens and Christmas, recommended by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

When it was published on December 19th, 1843, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol was an instant classic. As families settle in front of the fire to read it aloud on Christmas Eve, Oxford Professor of English Literature Robert Douglas-Fairhurst runs through the best of Dickens’s prolific writings about Christmas.

The Best Charles Dickens Books, recommended by Jenny Hartley

He was the most popular novelist of the Victorian era, a convivial family man who always championed the underdog. But he also harboured dark secrets that only came out after his death. Jenny Hartley recommends the best books by and about Charles Dickens and discusses Dickens the phenomenon, past and present.

The Best Victorian Novels, recommended by John Sutherland

The Victorian era was a golden age for fiction, says Victorian literature specialist John Sutherland, Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London. He talks us through the some of the best novels written during the Victorian period, and what they reveal about the people who wrote them.

The best books on Schoolmasters in Fiction, recommended by David Hargreaves

Teachers play an important role in our educational and emotional development. But we have a complex relationship with them: one marked by firm boundaries and an unequal power dynamic. Here, novelist and former schoolmaster David Hargreaves discusses five classic works of fiction that portray teachers walking this line with varying degrees of success.

The best books on Christmas, recommended by Bruce Forbes

Did you know that Santa Claus was a 4th century bishop in what is now Turkey? That Puritans tried to outlaw Christmas? Or Tiny Tim was originally Little Fred? Religious scholar Bruce Forbes recommends books that shed light on Christmas’s pagan past and consumerist present.

The Scariest Books for Kids, recommended by Jack Meggitt-Phillips

Scary children’s books give kids the pleasure of immersing themselves in an exciting page-turner, and are an excellent way to get reluctant readers to read novels. As long as you pay attention to individual children’s sensibilities, it shouldn’t be hard to find books that give them thrills rather than nightmares. Children’s author Jack Meggitt-Phillips talks us through his favourite scary books for kids.

© Five Books 2022