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Charles Dickens: a writing lifetime

A chronology of Dickens's major works

A chronology of the main landmarks of Dickens's fictional output is given here. It is mainly comprised of his novels, but also includes Sketches by 'Boz' and A Christmas Carol.

The listing includes a total of 17 major works published between 1833 and 1870, and demonstrates not only his extraordinary productivity, but the consistently high standard of his output: every one of these books remains world famous today.

Dickens invariably published his stories in periodical part-form before they appeared as bound volumes, hence the date-ranges in this listing. Those whose first editions are held in the Foyle Special Collections Library appear in bold, and demonstrate that the Library's holdings represent all phases of Dickens's writing career.

Each of these first editions is featured individually in a little more detail in the next section.

Illustration showing Mr Crummles embracing Nicholas in a crowded streetTheatrical emotion of Mr Vincent Crummles, from The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, 1839 [Rare Books Collection PR4565.A1 1839]

Illustration depicting Mark Tapley waving goodbyeMark begins to be jolly under creditable circumstances, from The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, 1844 [Rare Books Collection PR4563.A1 1844]

Illustration depicting the interior of the brickmaker's house with inhabitants performing various activitiesThe visit at the brickmaker's, from Bleak House, 1853 [Rare Books Collection PR4556.A1 1853]

Sketches by Boz in various places 1833–6
Pickwick Papers in monthly parts 1836–7
Oliver Twist in monthly parts 1837–9
Nicholas Nickleby in monthly parts 1838–9
The Old Curiosity Shop in weekly parts 1840–1
Barnaby Rudge in weekly parts 1841
Martin Chuzzlewit in monthly parts 1843–4
A Christmas Carol Christmas 1843
Dombey and Son in monthly parts 1846–8
David Copperfield in monthly parts 1849–50
Bleak House in monthly parts 1852–3
Hard Times in weekly parts 1854
Little Dorrit in monthly parts 1855–7
A Tale of Two Cities in weekly parts 1859
Great Expectations in weekly parts 1860–1
Our Mutual Friend in monthly parts 1864–5
Edwin Drood in monthly parts 1870 (unfinished at Dickens’s death).
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