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Google celebrates the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens

Those doodlers have come up with this very pretty homepage for the day. Plus, we’ve come up with five little-known facts about the author.

ANOTHER GOOGLE DOODLE has popped up on our homepages today as the search engine celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens.

Born in Portsmouth, England at midnight on the 7 February 1812, the son of a Navy-clerk went on to become one of the world’s most famous novelists.

He gave us so many enduring characters – Oliver Twist, Ebeneezer Scrooge and Pip – who have not only graced the pages of his books for centuries but also evolved into television, stage, film and musical stars.

Can you spot the characters? So far, we can see Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim (in the second O) and the Artful Dodger and Oliver Twist against the lamppost (or the L). Answers to the comments section.

Such Google doodles are enormous traffic drivers for the search engine and it should also be noted that clicking through the doodle will lead the user to a search on Google Books. This is the first time that the fun sketches have been used to push a Google product or service.

Not wanting to be too cynical about it, and also just for the occasion, here’s five facts you may not have known about Charles Dickens:

  • He was involved in a project to help hundreds of destitute girls who had turned to a life of prostitution and crime. He set up Urania Cottage, a safe house where the young women were trained for useful employment.
  • The Dickens’ household was a busy one with 10 children and a number of pets, including a raven called Grip.
  • Dickens often used the pseudonym Boz. Seemingly the name was derived from his brother’s mispronunciation of his own nickname Moses. The nasal pronunciation turned Moses into Bozes, which was eventually shortened. Dickens went on to christen one of his own son’s Charles Cuilliford Boz Dickens.
  • The original Beatle? When Dickens visited America in 1842 he remarked that the attention he received was quite tiresome. He told a friend, “I can do nothing that I want to do, go nowhere where I want to go, and see nothing that I want to see. If I turn into the street, I am followed by a multitude.”
  • Dickens separated from his wife Kate in 1858 after meeting a young actress Nelly Ternan. He wanted to announce the separation on the front page of Punch magazine but the publishers stopped him, stating it would be inappropriate. Annoyed, he left the publishers and started a rival magazine.

Dickens died on 9 June 1870 from a stroke. He is buried at Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey.

More: Students compete to have doodle shown on Google Ireland homepage>

Google marks Mercury’s birthday with awesome musical Doodle>

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