Charles Dickens Google Doodle
Google celebrated what would have been the 200th birthday of the author of such iconic works as “Oliver Twist”, “A Christmas Carol” and “Great Expectations”, with a Charles Dickens Google Doodle. The Charles Dickens Google Doodle was created by the talented doodler, Mike Dutton. The Charles Dickens Google Doodle, which appeared globally, could be viewed on the search engine’s homepage on February 7th 2012. In the Charles Dickens Google Doodle, the Google logo was written in a rich mahogany script and featured a number of the author’s iconic characters. From left to right, the characters included in the Charles Dickens Google Doodle are as follows, Sydney Carton and Dr. Manette from “A Tale of Two Cities”, Little Nell from “The Old Curiosity Shop”, Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim from “A Christmas Carol”, Oliver Twist and The Artful Dodger from “Oliver Twist”, Pip and Estella from “Great Expectations and Esther Summerson and Richard Carston from “Bleak House”. Both the Charles Dickens Google Doodle and blog can be still be viewed by clicking here.
Although Dickens’ books remain highly popular, literary opinion is divided into two camps. One camp, including Leo Tolsty and George Orwell, praised Dickens for the realism, comedy style and social criticism he achieved. Whilst the other camp, which includes Oscar Wilde and Virginia Woolf, criticised Dickens for a lack of psychological depth and his loose writing style.
Charles Dickens was born February 7th 1812, he was the second of eight siblings. His father, John Dickens, worked as a clerk for the Navy Pay Office. Although Dickens, was born in Landport on Portsea Island, which is part of modern day Portsmouth, his family moved several times during his early life. The first of these moves was to Bloomsbury, before moving to the town of Chatham, in Kent, where they settled until Charles was eleven years old. Due to his father’s occupation, Dickens was able to receive a private education for a number of years. However this ended when financial insecurity forced the family to move, in 1822, to Camden Town in London.
Due to continued financial problems, John Dickens was sent to the Marshalsea debtor’s prison in 1824. John was joined there by his wife and youngest children as was customary at the time. In the meantime, the twelve year old Charles lodged with Elizabeth Roylance, at 112 College Place, in Camden Town. At this time, Charles was forced to leave education in order to support his family, he worked ten hour days at a shoe-blacking factory for a meagre six shillings a week.
Following the release of his father from Marshalsea, Dickens returned back to school at the Wellington House Academy, situated in North London. However, Charles did not enjoy his time at the school and later based the character of Mr. Creakle, in “David Copperfield”, on the school’s headmaster.
Between May 1827 and November 1828, Dickens worked as a junior clerk for Holborn Court. During this time he learned Gurney’s system of shorthand in his free time and became a freelance reporter. By the age of 20, Dickens was still unsure of what he would like to become but was determined to be famous. During 1832, Dickens dabbled with a career on the stage, he gained an interview for a role at Covent Garden for which he practised meticulously, however missed the audition due to poor health.
Dickens then returned to journalism, by 1836 his first collected works was published, “Sketches by Boz”. Boz was a family nickname he had acquired and a pseudonym under which he worked for a number of years. On the success of his sketches, Dickens was invited by the publisher Chapman and Hall to provide text to the illustrated work of Robert Seymour. Unfortunately, Seymour killed himself following the second instalment. Dickens, however wished to continue writing for a connected series of illustrations so hired Hablot Knight Browne, better known by his pseudonym “Phiz”. Their mutual efforts resulted in the immensely popular “The Pickwick Papers”.
Whilst completing the final edition of The Pickwick Papers, Dickens began work on what was to become “Oliver Twist”. He wrote the novel in instalments, sometimes he wrote as many as 90 pages a month. During this time, he also worked as editor for Bentley’s Miscellany, whilst also working on four plays. Oliver Twist, perhaps Dickens’ best known book, was published in 1838. Notably the novel was the first Victorian novel to feature a child protagonist. On April 2nd 1836 Charles married Catherina Thomson Hoggart, following a one year engagement. The couple had a total of ten children, the first of which, Charley, was born during January of 1837. Following the publication of Oliver Twist, Dickens’ position as a successful novelist had been established. Subsequent publications included “Nicholas Nickleby”, “The Old Curiosity Shop” and “Master Humphreys Clock”, which were initially released in series form, prior to being published as a book.
During the 1840’s Dickens released a number of Christmas themed novels. The most famous of these “A Christmas Carol” published in 1843, his other Christmas themed novels included, “The Chimes” published 1844, “the Cricket on the Hearth” published 1845, “The Battle of Life” published 1846 and “The Haunted Man and a Ghosts Bargain” published 1848.
Following his Christmas themed novels there is a notable artistic break in Dickens style. After this time his novels adopted more series themes and were planned in greater depth. The first of the novels written in this style were “Dombey and Son” and “David Copperfield”, both of which appeared in series form before being published as novels.
Whilst producing the play “The Frozen Deep”, with his protégé Wilkie Collins, in 1857, the two hired a number of professional actresses. Dickens fell in love with one of these actresses, Ellen Ternan, who was aged just eighteen at the time. Dickens decided to leave his wife, divorce was unthinkable at this time, so the couple separated in 1858. Following the separation, Dickens wrote two of his best known novels, “A Tale of two Cities” published 1859 and “Great Expectations” published 1861.
Suffering from a stroke on 8th June 1870, Dickens never regained consciousness and died the following day. His wishes to be buried at Rochester Cathedral were ignored and instead he was laid to rest in a plot in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey. The Charles Dickens Google Doodle is not the first time the search engine has paid tribute to great authors. Other famous novelists have received Google Doodles paying tribute to their achievements, these include Oscar Wilde, H G Wells, Jane Austen and Mark Twain.