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Charles Dickens

Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic who created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime and, by the 20th century, critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are widely read today.

Born in Portsmouth, Dickens left school at the age of 12 to work in a boot-blacking factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors' prison. After three years he returned to school, before he began his literary career as a journalist. Dickens edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed readings extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, for education, and for other social reforms.

Dickens's literary success began with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers, a publishing phenomenon—thanks largely to the introduction of the character Sam Weller in the fourth episode—that sparked Pickwick merchandise and spin-offs. Within a few years Dickens had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most of them published in monthly or weekly installments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication. Cliffhanger endings in his serial publications kept readers in suspense. The instalment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience's reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback. For example, when his wife's chiropodist expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield seemed to reflect her own disabilities, Dickens improved the character with positive features. His plots were carefully constructed and he often wove elements from topical events into his narratives. Masses of the illiterate poor would individually pay a halfpenny to have each new monthly episode read to them, opening up and inspiring a new class of readers.

His 1843 novella A Christmas Carol remains especially popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities (set in London and Paris) is his best-known work of historical fiction. The most famous celebrity of his era, he undertook, in response to public demand, a series of public reading tours in the later part of his career. The term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social or working conditions, or comically repulsive characters.

Birth and Death Data: Born January 1, 1812 (Landport), Died June 9, 1870 (Gads Hill Place)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1912 - 1947

Roles Represented in DAHR: author

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor C-11984 12-in. 5/3/1912 Death of little Nell Frank Burbeck Recitation author  
Victor B-15644 10-in. 1/29/1915 The ivy-green Reinald Werrenrath Baritone vocal solo, with piano author  
Victor C-17571 12-in. 4/29/1916 Uriah Heep William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Victor C-17572 12-in. 4/29/1916 Micawber William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Victor C-17592 12-in. 5/3/1916 Scrooge William Sterling Battis Recitation, with violin and traps author  
Victor C-17593 12-in. 5/3/1916 Scrooge William Sterling Battis Recitation, with violin and traps author  
Victor C-17594 12-in. 5/3/1916 Scrooge William Sterling Battis Recitation, with violin and traps author  
Victor C-17595 12-in. 5/3/1916 Scrooge William Sterling Battis Recitation, with violin and traps author  
Victor C-17596 12-in. 5/3/1916 David Copperfield : Scene William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Victor C-17597 12-in. 5/3/1916 Squeers William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Victor C-17601 12-in. 5/3/1916 Cap'n Cuttle William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Victor C-17602 12-in. 5/3/1916 Pecksniff William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Victor C-17638 12-in. 5/10/1916 Sam Weller William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Victor C-17639 12-in. 5/10/1916 Jerry Cruncher William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Victor C-17652 12-in. 5/10/1916 Sidney Carton William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Victor CS-067585 12-in. 8/15/1941 A Christmas carol, part 1 Ernest Chappell and Cast Drama author  
Victor CS-067586 12-in. 8/15/1941 A Christmas carol, part 2 Ernest Chappell and Cast Drama author  
Victor CS-067587 12-in. 8/15/1941 A Christmas carol, part 3 Ernest Chappell and Cast Drama author  
Victor CS-067588 12-in. 8/15/1941 A Christmas carol, part 4 Ernest Chappell and Cast Drama author  
Victor CS-067589 12-in. 8/15/1941 A Christmas carol, part 5 Ernest Chappell and Cast Drama author  
Victor CS-067590 12-in. 8/15/1941 A Christmas carol, part 6 Ernest Chappell and Cast Drama author  
Victor CS-067591 12-in. 8/15/1941 A Christmas carol, part 7 Ernest Chappell and Cast Drama author  
Victor CS-067592 12-in. 8/15/1941 A Christmas carol, part 8 Ernest Chappell and Cast Drama author  
Victor [Trial 1915-02-19-01] Not documented 2/19/1915 The Pickwick papers Frank Speaight Recitation author  
Victor [Trial 1916-02-01-01] Not documented 2/1/1916 Selections from Dickens William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Victor [Trial 1916-04-14-01] Not documented 4/14/1916 David Copperfield : Extract William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Victor [Trial 1916-04-14-02] Not documented 4/14/1916 Scrooge : Extract William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Columbia 6275 12-in. approximately 1912 A Christmas carol : Scrooge, part 1 Bransby Williams Recitation author  
Columbia 6276 12-in. approximately 1912 A Christmas carol : Scrooge, part 2 Bransby Williams Recitation author  
Columbia 6277 12-in. approximately 1912 A Christmas carol : Scrooge, part 3 Bransby Williams Recitation author  
Columbia 6278 12-in. approximately 1912 David Copperfield : Micawber's advice Bransby Williams Recitation author  
Columbia 6354 12-in. approximately 1913 Pickwick papers : Tony Weller Bransby Williams Recitation author  
Columbia 6355 12-in. approximately 1913 Oliver Twist : Bill Sikes Bransby Williams Recitation author  
Columbia 74326 12-in. approximately 1921 Mr. Micawber and Uriah Heep (from "David Copperfield) Bransby Williams author  
Columbia 74327 12-in. approximately 1921 Mrs. Gamp (from "Martin Chuzzlewit") Bransby Williams author  
Columbia 74328 12-in. approximately 1921 Sergeant Buzfuz (from "Pickwick papers") Bransby Williams author  
Columbia 74333 12-in. 9/8/1921 Death of Little Nell (from The old curiosity shop") Bransby Williams author  
Columbia 74334 12-in. 9/8/1921 Grandfather Smallweed (from "Bleak house") Bransby Williams author  
Columbia 74340 12-in. 9/8/1921 The Eatenswill election (from "Pickwick papers") Bransby Williams author  
Columbia 74341 12-in. 9/8/1921 Scrooge, part 1 (from "A Christmas carol") Bransby Williams author  
Columbia 74343 12-in. 9/8/1921 Tony Weller and son (from "Pickwick papers") Bransby Williams author  
Brunswick E19585-E19587 10-in. 6/16/1926 Autumn leaves Allen McQuhae Male vocal solo, with orchestra author  
Brunswick E20284-E20285 10-in. 9/28/1926 Autumn leaves Allen McQuhae Male vocal solo, with orchestra author  
Decca L 3577 12-in. 9/5/1944 Mr. Pickwick's Christmas : Part 1 Charles Laughton author  
Decca L 3578 12-in. 9/5/1944 Mr. Pickwick's Christmas : Part 2 Charles Laughton author  
Decca L 3579 12-in. 9/5/1944 Mr. Pickwick's Christmas : Part 3 Charles Laughton author  
Decca L 3580 12-in. 9/5/1944 Mr. Pickwick's Christmas : Part 4 Charles Laughton author  
Decca L 4809 12/31/1947 A tale of two cities: Part 1 Ronald Colman author  
Decca L 4810 12/31/1947 A tale of two cities: Part 2 Ronald Colman author  
Decca L 4811 12/31/1947 A tale of two cities: Part 3 Ronald Colman author  
Decca L 4812 12/31/1947 A tale of two cities: Part 4 Ronald Colman author  
Decca L 4813 12/31/1947 A tale of two cities: Part 5 Ronald Colman author  
Decca L 4814 12/31/1947 A tale of two cities: Part 6 Ronald Colman author  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Dickens, Charles," accessed April 15, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102249.

Dickens, Charles. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102249.

"Dickens, Charles." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 15 April 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102249

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