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Sketches by Boz collected a rich and strange mixture of reportage, observation, fancy and fiction centred on the metropolis. It was Dickens's first book, published when he was twenty-four, and in it we find him walking the London streets, in theatres, pawnshops, law-courts, prisons, along the Thames, and on the omnibus, missing nothing, recording and transforming urban and suburban life into new terrain for literature. Sketches is a remarkable achievement, and looks towards Dickens's giant novels in its profusion of characters, its glimpses of surreal modernity and its limitless fund of pathos and comic invention.
Charles Dickens (1812-70) was a political reporter and journalist whose popularity was established by the phenomenally successful Pickwick Papers (1836-7). His novels captured and held the public imagination over a period of more than thirty years.