Charles Dickens Net Worth At Death – How Did He Get Rich?

Charles Dickens Net Worth At Death

Charles Dickens had an estimated net worth of £80,000 at death. He was a British author who penned beloved classics such as ‘Hard Times,’ ‘A Christmas Carol,’ ‘David Copperfield’ and ‘Great Expectations.’ The majority of his income came from his career as an author.

Charles Dickens was a British novelist, journalist, editor, illustrator, and social commentator best known for his works Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations.

Dickens is regarded as one of the most significant and influential writers of the nineteenth century. Among his many accomplishments, he has been praised for painting a harsh portrait of the Victorian-era underclass, which contributed to social change.

To calculate the net worth of Charles Dickens, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity she has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as student loans and credit card debt, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Charles Dickens
Net Worth: £80,000
Source of Wealth: Author

Early life and Education

Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, on England’s southern coast.

The well-known British author was the second of eight children. John Dickens, his father, was a naval clerk who hoped to strike it rich. Elizabeth Barrow, Charles’ mother, aspired to be a teacher and school director.

Despite his parents’ best efforts, the family was impoverished. Nonetheless, they were content in the beginning. They relocated to Chatham, Kent, in 1816, where young Dickens and his siblings were free to roam the countryside and explore Rochester’s old castle.

The Dickens family relocated to Camden Town, a poor area of London, in 1822. The family’s financial situation had deteriorated by that point, as John Dickens had a dangerous habit of living beyond the family’s means. In 1824, when Charles was only 12 years old, John was sentenced to prison for debt.

Dickens was forced to leave school after his father was imprisoned to work at a boot-blacking factory along the Thames. Dickens earned six shillings per week labeling pots of “blacking,” a substance used to clean fireplaces, at the run-down, rodent-infested factory. It was all he could do to support his family.

Looking back, Dickens saw the experience as the moment he said goodbye to his youthful innocence, wondering “how [he] could be so easily cast away at such a young age.”

He felt abandoned and betrayed by the adults entrusted with his care. These thoughts would become a recurring theme in his writing.

Dickens was relieved when his father received a family inheritance and used it to pay off his debts, allowing him to return to school.

But, when Dickens was 15, his education was taken away from him once more. In 1827, he had to drop out of school and work as an office boy to help support his family. As it turned out, the job served as a springboard for his writing career.

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Journalist, Editor and Illustrator

Dickens began freelance reporting at London’s law courts within a year of being hired. He was reporting for two major London newspapers just a few years later.

Under the pseudonym “Boz,” he began submitting sketches to various magazines and newspapers in 1833. His clippings were published in his first book, Sketches by Boz, in 1836.

Dickens began publishing The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club the same year. His series, which began as captions for artist Robert Seymour’s humorous sports-themed illustrations, was published in monthly installments.

Readers flocked to The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Indeed, Dickens’ captions were more popular than the illustrations they were supposed to accompany.

He later edited magazines such as Household Words and All the Year Round, which he founded.

Children

Dickens married Catherine Hogarth shortly after the publication of his first book, Sketches by Boz. The couple was the parents of ten children.

Dickens suffered two devastating losses in the 1850s: the deaths of his daughter and father. In 1858, he also divorced his wife. Dickens publicly slandered Catherine and began an intimate relationship with a young actress named Ellen “Nelly” Ternan.

Sources differ on whether the two began dating before or after Dickens’ divorce; it is also believed that he went to great lengths to erase any documentation mentioning Ternan’s presence in his life.

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Charles Dickens’ Books

Dickens published a total of 15 novels during his career. Among his most well-known works are:

‘Oliver Twist’ (1837-1838)

Dickens’ first novel, Oliver Twist, follows the life of an orphan living on the streets. The book was inspired by Dickens’ experiences as an impoverished child forced to survive on his wits and earn his own living.

Dickens began publishing Oliver Twist in installments as the publisher of a magazine called Bentley’s Miscellany between February 1837 and April 1838, with the full book edition published in November 1838.

Dickens continued to feature Oliver Twist in magazines he later edited, such as Household Words and All the Year Round. The novel was a huge success in both England and America. Oliver Twist fans were looking forward to the next monthly installment with bated breath.

‘A Christmas Carol’ (1843)

Dickens published A Christmas Carol on December 19, 1843. The book’s timeless protagonist is Ebenezer Scrooge, a grumpy old miser who, with the help of ghosts, discovers the Christmas spirit.

Dickens wrote the book in six weeks, starting in October and finishing just in time for the holidays. The novel was intended to be a social critique, drawing attention to the plight of England’s lower classes.

The book was a smashing success, selling over 6,000 copies in its first week. The book’s empathetic emotional depth moved readers in both England and America; one American entrepreneur reportedly gave his employees an extra day off after reading it. Despite literary criticism, Dickens’ novel remains one of his most well-known and beloved works.

‘Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son’ (1846 to 1848)

Dickens published Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son in monthly installments from October 1846 to April 1848. The novel, first published in book form in 1848, is about how business tactics affect a family’s personal finances.

It is considered pivotal to Dickens’ body of work because it set the tone for his other novels, taking a dark view of England.

‘David Copperfield’ (1849 to 1850)

No one had ever written a novel that simply followed a character through his daily life before David Copperfield. Dickens published the book in monthly installments from May 1849 to November 1850, with the full novel version published in November 1850.

Dickens drew on his own personal experiences, from his difficult childhood to his work as a journalist, to write it. Although not Dickens’ best work, David Copperfield was his personal favorite. It also contributed to the public’s understanding of what a Dickensian novel should be.

‘Bleak House’ (1852 to 1853)

Dickens’ novels began to express a darker worldview after the deaths of his father and daughter, as well as his divorce from his wife.

He addresses the hypocrisy of British society in Bleak House, which was published in installments from 1852 to 1853. It was regarded as his most difficult novel to date.

‘Hard Times’ (1854)

Hard Times is set in an industrial town at the height of its economic expansion. The book, which was published in 1854, focuses on the shortcomings of employers as well as those who seek change.

‘A Tale of Two Cities’ (1859)

Coming out of his “dark novel” period, Dickens published A Tale of Two Cities in 1859, a historical novel set in Paris and London during the French Revolution. He published it in All the Year Round, a periodical he founded.

The plot revolves around themes of sacrifice, the conflict between the evils inherent in oppression and revolution, and the possibility of resurrection and rebirth.

‘Great Expectations’ (1861)

Great Expectations, which was serialized from December 1860 to August 1861 and then published as a novel in October 1861, is widely regarded as Dickens’ greatest literary achievement.

The story, Dickens’ second in the first person, focuses on the protagonist, an orphan named Pip, and his lifelong journey of moral development. The themes of the well-received novel, with its extreme imagery and colorful characters, include wealth and poverty, love and rejection, and good versus evil.

Other Novels

Dickens struggled to match the success of Oliver Twist after its publication. He published The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, and Barnaby Rudge between 1838 and 1841.

Little Dorrit (1857), a fictional study of how human values clash with the brutality of the world, is another novel from Dickens’ darker period. Dickens’ novel Our Mutual Friend, first serialized in 1864 and then published as a book in 1865, examines the psychological impact of wealth on London society.

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Travels to the United States and Italy

Dickens and his wife, Catherine, set out on a five-month lecture tour of the United States in 1842. Dickens wrote American Notes for General Circulation upon their return, a sarcastic travelogue criticizing American culture and materialism.

He also wrote The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit around this time, a story about a man’s struggle to survive on the ruthless American frontier.

Dickens expressed his opposition to slavery and support for additional reform during his first U.S. tour in 1842. His lectures, which began in Virginia and ended in Missouri, were so popular that ticket scalpers congregated outside his events. Dickens received “the greatest welcome that probably any visitor to America has ever had” during his tour, according to biographer J.B. Priestley.

“They flock around me as if I were an idol,” Dickens, a known braggart, boasted. Although he initially enjoyed the attention, he grew to dislike the invasion of his privacy. He was also irritated by Americans’ gregariousness and crude habits, which he later expressed in American Notes.

Following his criticism of the American people during his first tour, Dickens embarked on a second tour of the United States from 1867 to 1868, hoping to make amends with the public.

This time, he delivered a charismatic speech promising to praise the United States in reprints of American Notes for General Circulation and Martin Chuzzlewit’s Life and Adventures. His 75 readings earned him an estimated $95,000, which equated to approximately $1.5 million in today’s dollars.

Back at home, Dickens had become so well-known that people recognized him as he strolled around London, gathering observations that would serve as inspiration for his future work.

Dickens also spent time in Italy, which resulted in his 1846 travelogue Pictures from Italy.

Death

Dickens died on June 9, 1870, at the age of 58, at Gad’s Hill Place, his country home in Kent, England, after suffering a stroke.

Dickens had been in a train accident five years before and had never fully recovered. Despite his deteriorating health, he continued to tour until shortly before his death.

Dickens was laid to rest in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey, with thousands of mourners gathered at his gravesite.

Dickens’ death was described as “a worldwide event, a unique of talents suddenly extinct” by Scottish satirical writer Thomas Carlyle. His final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was unfinished at the time of his death.

Movies

Many of Dickens’ major works have been adapted for film and stage plays, and some, like A Christmas Carol, have been repackaged in various forms over the years.

With the November 2017 release of The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring Dan Stevens as Dickens and Christopher Plummer as his famous fictional character Ebenezer Scrooge, Hollywood added another twist to the author’s celebrated holiday work.

Further Reading

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How To Become Rich Like Charles Dickens?

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