The classic novel Great Expectations was originally published in serialized form. Today in 1861, the final entry was published, completing what is now considered one of the finest novels ever written in the English language.
Dickens was a famous author at the time, having become a household name over three decades of publication. His first novel, The Pickwick Papers, cemented him as a man of note in the world of letters.
Dickens is known for his precise language, and for recurring themes of poverty and mistreatment of children. He got his literary start as a reporter, and then a short story writer. The same year he published his first significant work, Sketches by Boz, he married Katherine Hogarth. The two would remain married and have nine children together.
His early novels, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby, earned him a place in the bookshelves of people across the literary world. He wrote two more books, then traveled to America for five months.
Dickens was both brilliant and prolific. He published a novel once every one or two years.
He died in 1870, at the age of 58. He was working on a novel titled The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Dickens is still required reading in any serious course on fiction and the humanities. His name is almost synonymous with "good writing." His popularity is a testament both to his gifts as an author and to the now-much-diminished role fiction played in public life during his time.
Great Expectations is considered his masterpiece. It has enjoyed multiple adaptations to the screen, and can be found at virtually any library or bookstore.