In the sixteen novels of Charles Dickens, in his numerous stories and essays, notes and essays, the reader is presented with a monumental image of England of the 30s and 70s. XIX century., Entered in the most difficult period of economic and political development. Realistic in its basis, the artistic picture of the life of Victorian England, created by the great novelist, reflects the process of the long evolution of Dickens – the artist. Being a convinced realist, Dickens, at the same time, by the way of affirming the aesthetic and ethical ideals, always remained a romantic, even at the time of mature creativity, when the writer created great social canvases and later psychological novels. In other words, “realism always existed in his work in the closest interlacing with romanticism.”
The work of Charles Dickens, given its evolutionary development, can be conditionally divided into four main periods.
The first period At this time, “Essays on Bose”
and the novel “Posthumous notes of the Pickwick Club” were created. In the above works, the satirical direction of his work is clearly visible, first, anticipating the satirical paintings of the mature Dickens; secondly, the ethical antithesis of “good and evil,” expressed “in the dispute between Truth – the emotional perception of life based on imagination, and Krivda – a rational, intellectual approach to reality based on facts and figures.”
The Second Period During these years, Charles Dickens appears as a reformer of the genre of the novel, expanding the scope, by no one before it was seriously developed by children’s themes. He was the first in Europe in the pages of his novels began to portray the lives of children. Images of children are included as part of the composition of his novels, enriching and deepening both their social sounding and artistic content. The theme of childhood in his novels is directly related to the theme of “big hopes”, which becomes central not only at this stage of Dickens’s creativity, but continues
to sound with more or less force in all subsequent works of the writer.
Charles Dickens’ appeal during this period of creativity to historical themes is due primarily to the writer’s attempt to understand modernity through the prism of history and to find an alternative to “evil” in fairy-tale subjects. In fact, the book of essays “American Notes” is devoted to the same goal, that is, comprehension of modern England. Dickens’ trip to America widened the writer’s geographical horizons and, what is very important, gave him the opportunity to look at England from the outside. The impressions he made as a result of his communication with America were depressing. “I did not expect to see such a republic,” Dickens wrote bitterly, “This is not the republic I wanted to visit, not the republic that I saw in my dreams.” For me, the liberal monarchy – even with its sickening bulletins – is a thousand times better local government “.
This mature period of the writer’s work was marked by the creation of the following works: Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, Antiques Shop, Barnaby Raj, American Notes, Martin Chuzzlewit and the Christmas Stories cycle.
The third period is characterized by a deepening of the social pessimism of the writer. The technique of writing is also changing: “it is distinguished by great restraint and thoughtfulness of methods,” in the depiction of art paintings “the detail acquires special significance.” At the same time, the writer’s realistic study of child psychology is also deepening. In general, the work of Charles Dickens during this period marked a qualitatively new stage in the history of the development of English realism – a psychological stage. Appears in the work of the writer and a new, previously unknown to them, ethical category – a moral void.
During this period of creativity, the following mature realistic novels of the writer were published: Dombey and Son, David Copperfield, Cold House, Hard Times, Little Dorrit, Tale of Two Cities.
Fourth Period In this last period, Charles Dickens created two masterpieces: “Great Expectations” and “Our Common Friend.” In these works you will not find the soft humor inherent in Dickens at the beginning of the creative path. Soft humor gives way to ruthless irony. The theme of the “high hopes” of the late Dickens turns, in fact, into the balzac theme of “lost illusions”, but there is more bitterness, irony and skepticism in it. Broken hopes do not save even the Dickensian all-consuming flame of the hearth. But this result of the collapse of “high hopes” interests Dickens – the artist and moralist is no longer in terms of social, but rather in the moral and ethical.
In the latest mature novels of Dickens, a deep philosophical and psychological interpretation is also being given to the long-standing problem of art-the face and mask that hides it. In the early writings of the writer, we meet a lot of images-masks. In part this can be explained by the writer’s love of the theater, partly by a static-fairy-tale understanding of the character. For example, the image of Quilpe is a mask of a villain. In the early writings of the writer, the mask “whether it was good or, on the contrary, evil – did not hide anything.” But already in “Little Dorrit” under the guise of a true face. The face and mask in this novel of Dickens are different hypostases of the personality of the hero. On the game of mask and the true face of the hero, Charles Dickens’s last completed novel “Our Common Friend” was built.
The last novel by Dickens “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” remained unfinished. Today it remains a mystery for readers, critics and literary critics. It is a lot of mysterious, parodic and even paradoxical. “Later, Dickens’s novels,” writes the modern English researcher of the writer’s work, “are not only more serious, gloomier in color, but also written at a higher level of skill, better compositional than the early novels.”