De hoofdfiguur, Oliver Twist, wordt geboren in diepe armoede. Zijn moeder sterft kort na zijn geboorte en zijn vader is onbekend. Oliver belandt na acht jaar in een weeshuis te hebben gezeten in een zogenaamd armhuis. In het huis heerst een streng regime en men krijgt weinig te eten. Wanneer Oliver op een dag extra voedsel vraagt, wordt hij voor straf uit het werkhuis geplaatst en aangeboden als knecht bij een schoorsteenveger, maar komt uiteindelijk bij een begrafenisondernemer terecht. Die behandelt de jongen relatief goed, maar kan hem niet houden als hulpje omdat zijn vrouw, met wie hij in scheiding ligt, Oliver niet mag.
A Holiday Romance is a collection of four short interconnected stories written from the point of view of four children. The children are on holiday and are living out their fantasies, which come from all manner of adventure and romance stories and involve everything from weddings to courts martial, to pass the time. With this work, Dickens seeks not only to entertain but to advocate for freedom of imagination and fancy.
The Battle of Life: A Love Story is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in 1846. It is the fourth of his five "Christmas Books", coming after The Cricket on the Hearth and followed by The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain. The setting is an English village that stands on the site of an historic battle. Some characters refer to the battle as a metaphor for the struggles of life, hence the title. Battle is the only one of the five Christmas Books that has no supernatural or explicitly religious elements.
Strictly speaking, there were only six Poor Travellers; but, being a Traveller myself, though an idle one, and being withal as poor as I hope to be, I brought the number up to seven. This word of explanation is due at once, for what says the inscription over the quaint old door? RICHARD WATTS, Esq. by his Will, dated 22 Aug. 1579, founded this Charity for Six poor Travellers, who not being ROGUES, or PROCTORS, May receive gratis for one Night, Lodging, Entertainment, and Fourpence each. It was in the ancient little city of Rochester in Kent, of all the good days in the year upon a Christmas-eve, that I stood reading this inscription over the quaint old door in question.
One, two, three, four, five. There were five of them. Five couriers, sitting on a bench outside the convent on the summit of the Great St. Bernard in Switzerland, looking at the remote heights, stained by the setting sun as if a mighty quantity of red wine had been broached upon the mountain top, and had not yet had time to sink into the snow. This is not my simile. It was made for the occasion by the stoutest courier, who was a German. None of the others took any more notice of it than they took of me, sitting on another bench on the other side of the convent door, smoking my cigar, like them, and—also like them—looking at the reddened snow, and at the lonely shed hard by, where the bodies of belated travellers, dug out of it, slowly wither away, knowing no corruption in that cold region.
I was apprenticed to the Sea when I was twelve years old, and I have encountered a great deal of rough weather, both literal and metaphorical. It has always been my opinion since I first possessed such a thing as an opinion, that the man who knows only one subject is next tiresome to the man who knows no subject. Therefore, in the course of my life I have taught myself whatever I could, and although I am not an educated man, I am able, I am thankful to say, to have an intelligent interest in most things.
Doctor Marigold, named for the man who delivered him, is a "cheap-jack" who hawks sundries from a traveling cart he inhabits with his wife and his daughter Sophy. The mother beats Sophy, but Marigold, feeling powerless, does nothing to stop her. When the child dies of a fever, her guilt-wracked mother commits suicide.
"Mugby Junction" is a set of short stories written in 1866 by Charles Dickens and collaborators Charles Collins, Amelia B. Edwards, Andrew Halliday, and Hesba Stretton. It was first published in a Christmas edition of the magazine All the Year Round. Dickens penned a majority of the issue, including the frame narrative in which "the Gentleman for Nowhere," who has spent his life cloistered in the firm Barbox Brothers & Co., makes use of his new-found freedom in retirement to explore the rail lines that connect with Mugby Junction. Dickens's collaborators each contributed an individual story to the collection.
The Uncommercial Traveller is a collection of literary sketches and reminiscences written by Charles Dickens, published in 1860-1861. In 1859 Dickens founded a new journal called All the Year Round and the Uncommercial Traveller articles would be among his main contributions. He seems to have chosen the title and persona of the Uncommercial Traveller as a result of a speech he gave on 22 December 1859 to the Commercial Travellers' School London in his role as honorary chairman and treasurer. The persona sits well with a writer who liked to travel, not only as a tourist, but also to research and report what he found visiting Europe, America and giving book readings throughout Britain.
Pictures from Italy is a travelogue by Charles Dickens, written in 1846. The book reveals the concerns of its author as he presents, according to Kate Flint, the country "like a chaotic magic-lantern show, fascinated both by the spectacle it offers, and by himself as spectator". In 1844, Dickens took a respite from writing novels and for several months traveled through France and Italy with his family. They visited the most famous sights: Genoa, Rome, Naples (with Vesuvius still smouldering), Florence and Venice. In his travelogue the author portrays a nation of great contrasts: grandiose buildings and urban desolation, and everyday life beside ancient monuments. But it is his encounters with Italy's colorful street life that capture the imagination.