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The Idiosyncrasies of Charles Dickens

atkins-bookshelf-literatureCharles Dickens was an enormously inventive and prolific author, writing more than 26 major works (15 of them were novels). During the Victorian era he was dismissed by critics but adored by fans. But in his personal life, Dickens was, well, as Dickensian as any of the fictional characters he created. Like any genius, Dickens had his share of idiosyncrasies.

Dickens manifested obsessive compulsive disorder: before he could write, he would have to arrange furniture, especially tables and chairs, in very specific ways. He had a photographic memory that would allow him to remember the exact location of the furniture in each room.

When he traveled, Dickens would spend the first hour rearranging the furniture in his room, whether he was a guest at a private home or a hotel.

Like many OCD individuals, Dickens was a neat freak. He was very intolerant of untidy people and messiness. When guests left a room, he would quickly get up clean after them.

Dickens was also very superstitious: he touched everything three times for luck. He considered that Friday was the luckiest day of the week.

Dickens always slept with his head facing north, explaining to a friend that he could not sleep any other way.

Dickens had a morbid fascination with morgues — studying the corpses of accident and murder victims. He also visited the scenes of famous murders.




Secret Lives of Great Authors: What Your Teachers Never Told You about Famous Novelists, Poets, and Playwrights

For further reading: Secret Lives of the Great Authors by Robert Schnakenberg (2008)

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