All his characters are my personal friends - I am constantly comparing them with living persons, and living persons with them. -- Leo Tolstoy Dickens's figures belong to poetry, like figures of Dante or Shakespeare, in that a single phrase, either by them or about them, may be enough to set them wholly before us. -- T.S. Eliot
A literary phenomenon in his lifetime and renowned as much for his journalism and public speaking as for his novels, Charles Dickens now ranks as the most important Victorian writer and one of the most influential and popular authors in the English language. His memorable and vividly rendered characters and his combination of humour, trenchant satire and compassion have left an indelible mark on our collective imagination.