Do listen to our podcast from the Charing Cross Hotel on Monday. It was on the river, just below the hotel, that Charles Dickens had to work in the dreadful conditions of Warren's boot blacking factory when he was just twelve years old. This made young Charles so humiliated, frustrated and cheated, feeling as though he may never succeed in life, without further education, and his parents unable to
support him financially. Days later, word came that his father had been arrested and gaoled for indebtedness; this second event added shame to the burden he would have to carry for the rest of his life. Even at this age he realised that he would now be shunned by society, and would never be regarded as a gentleman- society then was very harsh. Appreciating all this is fundamental to understanding Dickens, and how it developed his character- it gives us an insight into how this brilliant young man learned to channel his enormous energy and skills to become the fine entertainer, the second greatest in literature and the greatest reformer of his time. There is plenty more about this in my next talk.
More details about Londonist podcast on http://londonist.com/2012/04/londonist-out-loud-a-podcast-for-london