Charles Dickens was one of the most prominent English writers, and his novels are famous. Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol and other books are a part of every classic library. Most of them describe Dickens’s real experiences1. Read a short extract from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

David Copperfield is a grown-up man and tells the story of his life. His father had died before David was born. He lived happily with his widowed2 mother and his nurse Peggotty. Then his mother married again. David’s stepfather3, Mr. Murdstone, who married David’s mother for money, and his sister were very cruel to David. The Murdstones sent David to a boarding school.

When David’s mother died, he had to leave school and start work in a warehouse4 in London. He boarded5 with Micawber family, whom he liked. He didn’t like his work or people there, so he ran away to his aunt Betsey Trotwood, who lived in Dover. She adopted David and sent him to a good school. David boarded with good Mr. Wickfield and his daughter Agnes, whom he liked very much.

After graduation, David started working for the law office6 of Spenlow & Jorkins and fell in love with Mr. Spenlow’s daughter Dora, and they got married. He soon discovered Dora wasn’t the right wife for him. David did a lot of extra work to help his aunt Betsey, who had lost her money. David’s old friend, Mr. Wickfield, had some problems at work and David helped him too. He also restored7 some of Aunt Betsey’s money.

Dora got seriously ill and died. David spent some years abroad to forget Dora. He discovered that his old friend Agnes had been his true love all the time. They finally got married and lived happily. David became a successful writer.

Here are three famous quotes from the book. Read them and discuss in class. Do you agree with them?

‘My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination8 is the thief of time.’

‘Never be mean in anything; never be false; never be cruel.’

‘Books were a way of escaping from the unhappiness of my life.’

Adapted by Jana Chrtianska

Vocabulary: 1[ri:l ikˈspiəriənsis] – skutočné skúsenosti/ skutečné zkušenosti; 2[ˈwidəud] – ovdovený/ ovdovělý; 3[ˈstepˌfaːðə] – nevlastný otec/ nevlastní otec; 4[ˈweəhaus] – obchodný dom/ obchodní dům; 5[hi: ˈboːdid] – bol ubytovaný/ byl ubytovaný; 6[lo: ˈofis] – právnická firma; 7[riˈstoːrd] – získal späť/ získal zpátky; 8[prəˌkræstiˈneišən] – odklady/ otálení