Charles Dickens, who lived from 1812-1870, was a prolific English author. His output includes some of the best known of nineteenth century English literature, including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol in Prose, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and many more. All of these works were originally printed in magazines, published as a series of stories over periods of time.
Dickens' work shows three major influences - his life experiences (many of his works include autobiographical features), his commentary on rapidly changing social and economic conditions in England at that time, and the tremendous imaginative abilities he brought to creation of his characters. Dickens excelled in detailed and very descriptive writing, using word pictures to create elaborate impressions of the surroundings and allowing readers to feel personally acquainted with his characters.
Dickens was the greatest English writer after Shakespeare. He was immensely popular in the U.S. Many of his novels have been made into motion pictures--and watching a few of these would be an easy way to get an introduction to Dickens' world. The motion pictures made from his novels include Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit, A Tale of Two Cities, and others. All these are available on DVDs.