The Secret Life of Charles Dickens

On the 8th of October the Forum welcomed Pat Osborne as guest speaker for the fourth time in the last five years.  Pat researches into the lives of literary and historical figures as a basis for her talks and the subject for this talk was The Secret Life of Charles Dickens.

Dickens was born in 1812 as the second of eight children.  The family enjoyed periods of relative prosperity interspersed with times of hardship including spells in a debtor’s prison and, although he did receive some education,

Charles began his working life in a blacking warehouse.  Many of the darker incidents in his books are derived from the experiences of his childhood.  He became a court reporter before entering journalism and began writing stories in serial form.  He married Catherine, the daughter of his employer, although he also developed an affection for her two sisters.  He became involved in the theatre both reciting from his own books and producing the works of others and. after twenty years of marriage and nine children he fell in love with a young actress called Ellen Ternan which resulted in the breakdown of his marriage.  He was also rumoured to be involved in a relationship with one of his sisters-in-law.  The stress of his working and private lives caused Dickens to suffer a stroke in 1870 and he died without regaining consciousness.

Howard Upton thanked Pat for an entertaining talk and the fifty members present responded with warm applause.