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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Charles Dickens was arguably the most important writer of the Victorian Age, an author who captured the time, and whose exposure of the period's social conditions effected significant legal and societal changes in England.

His works are renowned for their social criticisms, realism, outstanding characterizations, comedy, and style. After the publication of Oliver Twist, for instance, a novel which traces an orphan's life in the slums of London, the social conscience of the English was stirred to examine the criminality in their city. Also Dickens brought attention in the first pages to the Poor Law of 1834. Then, he exposed the cruel victimization of small children as chimney sweeps and as professional mourners, etc.

Other works of Dickens examine other laws, education, and industrial relations. For instance, in Hard Times there are detailed descriptions of an industrial town in England during the great economic expansion of England. In addition, Dickens details the limits on both employers and reformers. 

Another novel, Little Dorrit, depicts the conditions of England and what Dickens perceived as the conflict between the harshness of the world and human values. Some regard this novel as Dickens's greatest novel because of its impressive artistry.