See the video on Miss Havisham

Dr Laura Peters raises some really interesting points in this video on the Dickens site when she discusses the character of Miss Havisham


Certainly a villain, but also, in some ways a victim.  Her single-minded devotion to revenge shows Dickens interest in the subject of mental illness.   Dr Peters also mentions that Miss Havisham is likely based on a real chacter, Eliza Emily Donnithorne who was jilted and, like Miss H, wore her wedding dress for the rest of her life:


Do you know of any other Dickens characters who may be based on real people?

Average: 5 (2 votes)


gulnur's picture

I am not so sure if it is right, but when I searched the Internet, I found out that Ebenezer Scrggie's mother was the niece of Adam Smith, the 18th century political economist and philosopher. http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/12/scrooge-and-adam-smith.html     Mr. Gradgrind has three younger children: Two of them are Adam Smith, (after the famous theorist of laissez-faire policy), Malthus (after Rev. Thomas Malthus, who wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population, warning of the dangers of future overpopulation) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_Times      The ghost of his dead partner, Jacob Marley, from A Christmas Carol, and the others have been linked to people who lived or worked near Dickens's first London home. and some more on http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/feb/01/charles-dickens-real-character-names

Dickens2012's picture

Thanks for your thoughts gulnur. It's fascinating to know that real people inspired some of Dickens' most well known characters.  Do you think this comment made by Mr Gradgrind, who you refer to in your comment, is true of real life ? :  "Now, what I want is Facts...Facts alone are wanted in life." ( Hard Times, Bk. 1, ch.1)James    

gulnur's picture

Hi,I guess we need facts and fancies together in balance. The classroom in Hardtimes was sooo plain, bare. But we discussed with the colleagues to make the environment more lively, creative. We created our classroom together with a library corner, with cushions, vocabulary chests, classroom rules, discussion corners wtc.