The Shadow of the Prison and the Novelist's Heart: The Personal Story Behind A Christmas Carol
|Sketch of Dickens in 1842 during his American tour (wikipedia.com)
Once Dickens saw the legal system at work, it did not take him long to find his true vocation. By the time he took a seat in the Visitors’ Gallery of the Houses of Parliament, he was turning the scenes he had witnessed in the law offices and courts into fiction. Two years later he was famous, thanks to a collection of short pieces called Sketches by Boz. One described a visit to the Court of Doctors’ Commons, where a “hard-featured old man” with a “deeply wrinkled face,” whose every look and gesture “told of wealth, and penury, and avarice,” was busily planning to rob a poor man of a long-awaited inheritance.