5 Interesting Facts About Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born on this day. There are many things you may think you know about him, but read some of these interesting facts about the author!

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Charles Dickens

Today marks the birthday of literary hero Charles Dickens. It is commonly known that this author frequently wrote about poverty, injustice, and crime. It is to be known that all of his works covering these heavy topics were often written with great humor. However, there are some things that you may not know about the author of A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, and other beloved works such as A Tale of Two Cities. To honor this day, here are a few fun facts about Dickens!

Charles Dickens
Image Via Forbes

1. The Dickens name is cursed.

His last name was a swear (possibly curated by William Shakespeare). Instead of saying “What the hell?” People would instead go, “What the dickens?!” And according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first usage of the word was in Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor.

2. Charles Dickens saved multiple friends (and strangers) lives after a train accident.

According to the New York Times, Dickens was aboard a train that derailed over a bridge. He was in the only first-class carriage that didn’t go overboard. He not only found the key that freed his friends, but he also went into derailed carriages below and gave water and brandy to those who needed it. He was also the badass who “climbed back into the carriage and retrieved from the pocket of his coat the installment of Our Mutual Friend that he had just completed and was taking to his publishers.”

3. He helped create a home for “fallen women.”

In a world where women had little to no rights or options to support themselves, prostitution was very common. Prostitution was also a crime that was severely punished. After an appeal from Angela Coutts, an heiress, he helped create “Urania House” where former prostitutes could learn how to read and write.

4. Charles Dickens was definitely OCD.

According to Dickens’s biography, the writer had a habit of rearranging the furniture whenever he stayed in a hotel and inspected his children’s bedrooms every morning, leaving behind notes if he was not satisfied with their tidiness.

5. His last novel remains a mystery.

Dickens had written half a novel entitled The Mystery of Edwin Drood, but left it unfinished due to his death by stroke in 1870. Edwin Drood was a young man engaged to Rosa Bud, who is also the object of his uncle’s affections and other men as well. After Drood and Rosa break off their engagement, he disappears.

Dickens left behind no clues as to who may have killed his protagonist, although many suspect the uncle. There have been multiple adaptations that worked off of this story; each assumed different endings.

Happy birthday Charles Dickens! For more on the classics, check out our article on some of the best Virginia Woolf quotes.