What the Dickens

Sales of Charles Dickens’s books in his lifetime

ON THE death of Charles Dickens in 1870 the Times lamented, “The loss of such a man is an event which makes ordinary expressions of regret seem cold and conventional”. It was the prodigious popularity of his work that went furthest to explaining the effect his death had on book-reading Britain and beyond. To mark today’s 200th anniversary of his birth, we have tried to discover which novel sold best during Dickens’s life.

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