Charles Dickens came from a life of poverty and deprivation, but he drew from many of his earliest experiences to create some of the most memorable characters of all time such as Fagin, Ebenezer Scrooge, Wilkins Micawber and Uriah Heep. Today, Dickens is still considered one of the greatest writers of the Victorian Era, with works including: A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, Bleak House, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Hard Times and many more.
At The Circumlocution Office we believe we run one of, if not the, largest websites on the internet devoted to the great Victorian author. This includes maintaining a collection of his best quotations which we source from the works that you can also find published on our site.
This is a ‘tag cloud’ of all the themes used in our archive of over 350 Charles Dickens quotations collected to-date. The larger the text, the more frequent that theme occurs. Click on a word to see the quotations related to that theme.
During our research we came across a number of online sources that attribute quotations to Charles Dickens that are incorrect, not referenced or plainly wrong. Perhaps the most common we came across, as it is replicated across several leading online quotation sites is the following quote:
A day wasted on others is not wasted on one’s self.
The quote appears to have been corrupted over time from the following line taken from A Tale of Two Cities Book 2 Chapter 17:
Similarly, this quote, said to be by Dickens:
Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.
is inaccurate and what Dickens actually wrote was this passage in his short story The Wreck of the Golden Mary:
I have heard it broached that orders should be given in great new ships by electric telegraph. I admire machinery as much is any man, and am as thankful to it as any man can be for what it does for us. But it will never be a substitute for the face of a man, with his soul in it, encouraging another man to be brave and true.
So as you can see before we publish a quotation we check each one we come across against a published work by Charles Dickens and reference the part of the work it came from.
For further reading of Charles Dickens quotations we recommend Wikiquote, who provide a comprehensive list of quotations by Dickens set out by his works and each is referenced. Sadly, a number of sites that advertise themselves as leading quotation sites for authors such as Dickens provide non-referenced quotations or even misquotes and at present we have only found Wikiquote to be accurate (apart from ourselves of course!).