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Charles Dickens
English novelist

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Bleak House (1853)

Jarndyce and Jarndyce still drags its dreary length before the Court, perennially hopeless.
-- Bleak House, ch. 1

This is a London particular…A fog, miss.
-- Bleak House, ch. 3

Telescopic philanthropy.
-- Bleak House, ch. 4

‘Not to put too fine a point upon it’—a favourite apology for plain-speaking with Mr Snagsby.
-- Bleak House, ch. 11

Dead, your Majesty,Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead, Right Reverends and Wrong Reverends of every Order. Dead, men and women, born with heavenly compassion in your hearts. And dying thus around us, every day.
-- Bleak House, ch. 47

I call them the Wards of Jarndyce. They are caged up with all the others. With Hope, Joy, Youth, Peace, Rest, Life, Dust, Ashes, Waste, Want, Ruin, Despair, Madness, Death, Cunning, Folly, Words, Wigs, Rags, sheepskin, Plunder, Precedent, Jargon, Gammon, and Spinach!
-- Bleak House, ch. 60

A Christmas Carol (1843)

'Bah,' said Scrooge. 'Humbug!'
-- A Christmas Carol, stave 1

I am the Ghost Christmas Past.
-- A Christmas Carol, stave 2

'God bless us every one!' said Tiny Tim, the last of all.
-- A Christmas Carol, stave 2

David Copperfield (1850)

Barkis is willin'.
-- David Copperfield, ch. 5

I have known him to come home to supper with a flood of tears, and a declaration that nothing was now left but a jail; and t go to bed making a calculation of the expense of putting bow-windows to the house, 'in cse anything turned up,' which was his favorite expression.
-- Of Mr. Micawber in in: David Copperfield, ch. 11

'Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.'
-- Mr. Micawber in: David Copperfield, ch. 14

We are so very 'umble.
-- Uriah Heep in: David Copperfield, ch. 17

Mrs. Crupp had indignantly assured him that there wasn't room to swing a cat there; but, as Mr. Dick justly observed to me, sitting down on the foot of the bed, nursing his leg, 'You know, Trotwood, I don't want to swing a cat. I never do swing a cat. Therefore, what does that signify to me !'
-- David Copperfield, ch. 35

Hard Times (1854)

Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else... Stick to Facts, sir!
-- Mr Gradgrind in: Hard Times, bk. 1, ch. 1

Little Dorrit (1857)

22. Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving—HOW NOT TO DO IT.
-- Little Dorrit, bk. 1, ch. 10

In company with several other old ladies of both sexes.
-- Little Dorrit, bk. 1, ch. 17

Father is rather vulgar, my dear. The word Papa, besides, gives a pretty form to the lips. Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes, and prism, are all very good words for the lips: especially prunes and prism.
-- Mrs. General in: Little Dorrit, bk. 2, ch. 5

Martin Chuzzlewit (1844)

Here's the rule for bargains: ‘Do other men, for they would do you.’
-- Jonas Chuzzlewit in: Martin Chuzzlewit, ch. 11

26. He'd make a lovely corpse.
-- Mrs. Gamp in: Martin Chuzzlewit, ch. 25

Nicholas Nickleby (1839)

United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company.
-- Mrs. Squeers in: Nicholas Nickleby, ch. 2

Subdue your appetites my dears, and you've conquered human natur.
-- Mr Squeers in: Nicholas Nickleby, ch. 5

C-l-e-a-n, clean, verb active, to make bright, to scour. W-i-n, win, d-e-r, der, winder, a casement. When the boy knows this out of the book, he goes and does it.
-- Mr Squeers in: Nicholas Nickleby, ch. 8

As she frequently remarked when she made any such mistake, it would all be the same a hundred years hence.
-- Mrs. Squeers in: Nicholas Nickleby, ch. 9

There are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk.
-- Miss La Creevy in: Nicholas Nickleby, ch. 10

All is gas and gaiters.
-- The Gentleman in the Small-clothes in: Nicholas Nickleby, ch. 49

My life is one demd horrid grind!
-- Mr. Mantalini in: Nicholas Nickleby, ch. 64

Oliver Twist (1838)

"Please, sir, I want some more."
-- Oliver in: Oliver Twist, ch. 2

Known by the sobriquet of ‘The artful Dodger’.
-- Oliver Twist, ch. 8

‘If the law supposes that,’ said Mr Bumble…‘the law is a ass—a idiot.’
-- Oliver Twist, ch. 8

Our Mutual Friend (1865)

He'd be sharper than a serpent's tooth, if he wasn't as dull as dish water.
-- Fanny Cleaver in: Our Mutual Friend, bk. 3, ch. 10

I want to be something so much worthier than the doll in the doll's house.
-- Bella in: Our Mutual Friend, bk. 4, ch. 3

A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
-- A Tale of Two Cities, bk. 1, ch. 1

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.
-- Sydney Carton's thoughts as he mounts the scaffold, in: A Tale of Two Cities, bk. 3, ch. 15

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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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