David Copperfield is the eighth novel by Charles Dickens. The novel’s full title is The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery. It was first published as a serial in 1849–50, and as a book in 1850.
The novel features the character David Copperfield, and is written in the first person, as a description of his life until middle age, with his own adventures and the numerous friends and enemies he meets along his way. It is his journey from being an impoverished, neglected child to a successful author.
Many elements of the novel follow events in Dickens’s own life, and it is often considered his veiled autobiography. It was Dickens’ favourite among his own novels. In the preface to the 1867 edition, Dickens wrote, “like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favourite child. And his name is David Copperfield.”
Like some of his other novels, it contains descriptions of child exploitation and abuse, some based both on his own childhood experiences, and other published reports.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century critics and scholars had recognized him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are still widely read today.
Dickens’s literary success began with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire, and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most published in monthly or weekly instalments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication. Cliffhanger endings in his serial publications kept readers in suspense. The instalment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience’s reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback. Noted is his novel “A Christmas Carol.” His plots were carefully constructed, and he often wove elements from topical events into his narratives. Masses of the illiterate poor chipped in ha’pennies to have each new monthly episode read to them, opening up and inspiring a new class of readers.