Dickens Chronology

Detail from a portrait of Charles Dickens by Daniel Maclise, 1839. This is what Dickens would have looked like around the time of Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, and Nicholas Nickleby.

1812 Born in Portsmouth (February 7) to John and Elizabeth Dickens.
1817 Family moves to Chatham, near Rochester in Kent.
1821 Dickens begins education at William Giles's School. Writes the tragedy, Misnar, the Sultan of India.
1822 John Dickens transferred to London (summer). Family moves to Camden Town.
1824 John Dickens imprisoned for debt in the Marshalsea Prison (February 20 - May 28). The young Charles Dickens is sent to work at Warren 's Blacking Factory (late January/early February - June).
1825 Attends Wellington House Academy.
1827 Family evicted for non-payment of rates (March). Dickens leaves school and becomes a clerk at Ellis & Blackmore, solicitors.
1828 - 29 Learns shorthand and works as a freelance reporter at Doctors' Commons.
1830 Falls in love with Maria Beadnell.
1831 - 34 Works as a parliamentary reporter.
1832 Considers a career in acting but fails, on account of illness, to keep his appointment for an audition at Covent Garden Theatre.
1833 Publishes first story, "A Dinner at Poplar Walk," in The Monthly Magazine.
1834 Becomes reporter for The Morning Chronicle. Meets Catherine Hogarth (August). Publishes stories in various periodicals.
1836 Collects previously published stories into his first book, Sketches by Boz (First Series, 8 February). Marries Catherine Hogarth (2 April). Serialization of Pickwick Papers (April 1836 - November 1837). The Strange Gentleman produced at the St. James's Theater (29 September) followed by The Village Coquettes (22 December). Sketches by Boz , Second Series published (17 December). Resigns from The Morning Chronicle to assume editorship of Bentley's Miscellany.
1837 First number of Bentley's Miscellany (1 January). The first of his ten children is born (6 January). Moves to 48 Doughty Street (April). Death of Mary Hogarth (7 May). First visit to Europe (July). Oliver Twist serialized in Bentley's (February 1837 - April 1839).
1838 Edits and publishes Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi. Nicholas Nickleby serialized (April 1838 - October 1839).
1839 Resigns editorship of Bentley's Miscellany (31 January).
1840 Sketches of Young Couples (10 February). Old Curiosity Shop serialized in Master Humphrey's Clock ( 25 April 1840 - 6 February 1841 ).
1841 Barnaby Rudge serialized in Master Humphrey's Clock (13 February - 27 November).
1842 Visit to America (January - June). American Notes published (19 October).
1843 Martin Chuzzlewit serialized (January 1843 - July 1844). A Christmas Carol published (19 December).
1844 Lives one year in Italy with his family (from July). The Chimes published (16 December).
1845 Returns to London . Directs and acts in Jonson's Every Man in His Humour. The Cricket on the Hearth published (20 December). Begins composition of the autobiographical fragment (c. 1845 - 48).
1846 Edits The Daily News (21 January - 9 February) and lives part of the year in Switzerland and Paris. Pictures from Italy published (18 May). Dombey and Son serialized (October 1846 - April 1848).
1848 The Haunted Man published (19 December).
1849 David Copperfield serialized (May 1849 - November 1850).
1850 Founds and edits the weekly journal Household Words (until May 1859).
1851 Dickens family moves to Tavistock House (November).
1852 Bleak House serialized (March 1852 - September 1853).
1854 Hard Times serialzed in Household Words (1 April - 12 August).
1855 Meets Maria Beadnell (now Mrs. Winter) again. Lives in Paris (October 1855 - April 1856). Little Dorrit serialized (December 1855 - June 1857).
1856 Purchases Gad's Hill Place, near Rochester in Kent.
1857 Directs and acts in Wilkie Collins's The Frozen Deep. Meets Ellen Ternan.
1858 Gives his first public readings for profit (29 April - 22 July). Legal separation from Catherine (May). First provincial reading tour (2 August - 13 November).
1859 Founds and edits All the Year Round. A Tale of Two Cities serialized in the new weekly journal (30 April - 26 November).
1860 Great Expectations serialized in All the Year Round (1 December - 3 August 1861 ).
1864 Our Mutual Friend serialized (May 1864 - November 1865).
1865 Staplehurst train wreck (9 June). Dickens sustains minor injuries and long- lasting trauma.
1867 American reading tour (November 1867 - April 1868).
1870 Twelve farewell readings in London (January). Received by Queen Victoria (9 March). Begins serializing The Mystery of Edwin Drood (April). Dies on June 9th at Gad's Hill of a cerebral hemorrhage.