Dickens showed writers how to become famous or, at least, how to become popular. His friend, the novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote that Dickens “understands the practical part of authorship better than any writer”.
Dickens was the original blogger. He self-published his work and released his stories in instalments. He was famous for his public readings and tours. His readers adored him. Simon Callow writes: ‘He was taken immensely seriously; he comported himself with dignity, humility, grace and good humour. Then he made them laugh uproariously’.
When he went to Scotland for the first time, everyone who was anyone turned out at a banquet in his honour. He was mobbed during his first trip to America in 1842, where he had locks of his hair cut off and bits of his fur coat plucked. He was stared at and followed, but he relished the acclaim.
He was also enormously wealthy. His second American tour in 1867 brought profits of £20,000, which would equate to £1.4m today. His advance of £6,000 for Our Mutual Friend in 1864, would be close to £420,000 today. (Source)
Charles Dickens lived his life in the glare of publicity more so than any other author in history. When he died it can be argued that he was the most famous man in the world. If he had lived today, he would have a Twitter account, A Facebook page and a Blog. He would be a social media superstar.
Dickens was ahead of his time. Have a look at these statistics:
Source for Infographic
If you enjoyed this, you may want to read these 10 Memorable Charles Dickens Quotes.
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