This witty and amusing collection of short pieces shows Dickens liberated from the more formal and sustained demands of the novel and experimenting with a diverse range of fictional techniques. In his tales of the supernatural, he creates frighteningly believable, spine-tingling stories of prophetic dreams and visions, as well as more fantastical adventures with goblins and apparitions. Impressionistic sketches combine imaginatively heightened travel journals with wry observations of home and abroad, while in his dramatic monologues, Dickens demonstrates his talent for exploring the secret workings of the human mind. These short works display Dickens's exuberant sense of comedy and character as his imagination is given free rein.
Charles Dickens is one of the greatest English writers of all time. Born in 1812, Dickens was sent to work at the age of twelve after his father was imprisoned for debt. He taught himself shorthand and became a reporter for the Morning Chronicle, quickly achieving success. The Pickwick Papers were published in 1836-7. He continued to write novels like Oliver Twist, Bleak House and David Copperfield until his death in 1870. Deborah A. Thomas is Professor of English at Villanova University, Pennsylvania. She is the author of Dickens and the Short Story, Thackeray and Slavery and Hard Times: A Fable of Fragmentation and Wholeness.