Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield
David Copperfield was Charles Dickens’s eighth novel, and has been said to be Charles Dickens favorite novel. In the Charles Dickens edition of the novel Dickens states, “It will be easily believed that I am a fond parent to every child of my fancy, and that no one can ever love that family as dearly as I love them. But, like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favorite child. And his name is David Copperfield”(Valsmis 1). Many of the events of the novel, David Copperfield, have been compared to Charles Dickens own life; therefore many believe the novel to be somewhat autobiographical. John Forster one of Charles Dickens close friends and the author of Dickens biography wrote, “too much had been assumed…of the full identity of Dickens with his hero; but certainly a good deal of Dickens’s character and experience went into the book”(Unknown 2). Forster’s remark deals mainly with some of the public’s belief that the entire story of David Copperfield was autobiographical.
Charles Dickens began work on David Copperfield after John Forster questioned him about his childhood. E. D. H. Johnson's, Charles Dickens: An Introduction to His Novels, discussed a conversation that John Forster overheard between Charles Dickens’s father and a man, in which; the man claimed that he remembered a young Dickens working in his factory (Johnson 1). Johnson stated, “Forster's curiosity over this chance discovery moved Dickens to write the fragment of an autobiography which he subsequently entrusted to his friend when he decided to incorporate the substance of his recollections almost verbatim in the Murdstone and Grinby episode of David Copperfield”(Johnson 1). Dickens began work on the novel, David Copperfield, in February 1849 at his home in Devonshire Terrace, London; the novel was completed in November of 1850 (Johnson 1).
The publication of David Copperfield was ordinary for the Victorian era; there were no major problems or event that occurred during the time. The novel was published in parts between the years of 1849 and 1850 (Unknown1). Brandburny and Evans published the novel in a single volume edition in November 1850 (Unknown 1). David Copperfield was first published in America serially in twenty parts between the years 1849 and 1850 by Lea and Blanchard in Philadelphia (Unknown 1).
David Copperfield was fairly well received by the critics of the Victorian Era. In 1850, after the publication of the single volume edition Fraser’s Magazine stated, “David Copperfield is, in our opinion, the best of all the author’s fictions. The plot is better contrived, and the interest more sustained, than in any other”(Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism 160). David Masson wrote in an essay in 1851 that, “according to the general voice of the critics, Copperfield is one of the best of Mr. Dickens’s stories, written with decidedly more care...