Charles Dickens in 31 quotes

Dickens_5_10cmCharles Dickens in 31 quotes

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was a great Victorian novelist and the creator of an extensive range of vivid fictional characters. He was also a journalist, speaker and social critic. In his childhood Dicken’s father was imprisoned for debt and the 12 year old Charles was famously sent to work in a blacking factory to help support the family.

Choosing a few favourite quotes to represent this writer’s enormous bulk of work is difficult – but I have selected 31. Hope you enjoy them.

31 quotes from Charles Dickens

31. Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism, are all very good words for the lips. [Little Dorrit]

30. The first rule of business is: Do other men for they would do you.

29. Subdue your appetites, my dears, and you’ve conquered human nature. [Nicholas Nickleby]

28. “A very little key will open a very heavy door.” [Hunted Down]

27. “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass — a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience.” [Oliver Twist]

26. “Vices are sometimes only virtues carried to excess!” [Dombey and Son]

25. “Ask no questions, and you’ll be told no lies.” [Great Expectations]

24. “Least said, soonest mended” [David Copperfield]

23. “In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected.” [Frauds on the Fairies]

22. “Marley was dead, to begin with … This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.” [A Christmas Carol]

21. “Gold conjures up a mist about a man, more destructive of all his old senses and lulling to his feelings than the fumes of charcoal.” [Nicholas Nickleby]

20. “‎And yet I have had the weakness, and have still the weakness, to wish you to know with what a sudden mastery you kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire.” [A Tale of Two Cities]

19. “I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.” [Great Expectations]

18. “There was something very comfortable in having plenty of stationery.” [Great Expectations]

17. “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.” [David Copperfield]

16. “I was always treated as if I had insisted on being born, in opposition to the dictates of reason, religion, and morality, and against the dissuading arguments of my best friends.” [Great Expectations]

15. “Trifles make the sum of life. ” [David Copperfield]

14. “Her contempt for me was so strong, that it became infectious, and I caught it.” [Great Expectations]

13. “Reflect upon your present blessings – of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” [A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings]

12. “Most men unconsciously judge the world from themselves, and it will be very generally found that those who sneer habitually at human nature, and affect to despise it, are among its worst and least pleasant samples.” [Nicholas Nickleby]

11. “I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free. Mankind will surely not deny to Harold Skimpole what it concedes to the butterflies.” [Bleak House]

10. “Why, Mrs. Piper has a good deal to say, chiefly in parentheses and without punctuation, but not much to tell.” [Bleak House]

9. “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!” [A Christmas Carol]

8. “My advice is, never do to-morrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!” [David Copperfield]

7. “What greater gift than the love of a cat.” [Charles Dickens]

6. “Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.” [The Wreck of the Golden Mary]

5. “No one who can read, ever looks at a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot.” [Our Mutual Friend]

4. ” ― Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.” [A Christmas Carol]

3. “The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’ Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.” [David Copperfield]

2. “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” [Charles Dickens]

1. “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.” [A Christmas Carol]



4 thoughts on “Charles Dickens in 31 quotes

Add yours

    1. I’m not sure any other author could produce so many quotable lines (apart from Shakespeare). And I left some of the most famous out, e.g. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. A Christmas Carol is probably my favourite story.


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