It is impossible to overstate the importance of British novelist CHARLES DICKENS (1812-1870) not only to literature in the English language, but to Western civilization on the whole. He is arguably the first fiction writer to have become an international celebrity. He popularized episodic fiction and the cliffhanger, which had a profound influence on the development of film and television. He is entirely responsible for the popular image of Victorian London that still lingers today, and his characters-from Oliver Twist to Ebenezer Scrooge, from Miss Havisham to Uriah Heep-have become not merely iconic, but mythic. But it was his stirring portraits of ordinary people-not the upper classes or the aristocracy-and his fervent cries for social, moral, and legal justice for the working poor, and in particular for poor children, in the grim early decades of the Industrial Revolution that powerfully impacted social concerns well into the 20th century. Without Charles Dickens, we may never have seen the likes of Sherlock Holmes, Upton Sinclair, or even Bob Dylan. Here, in 30 beautiful volumes-complete with all the original illustrations-is every published word written by one of the most important writers ever. The essential collector's set will delight anyone who cherishes English literature...and who takes pleasure in constantly rediscovering its joys. This volume contains Sketches by Boz, a collection of interconnected short stories first published between 1836 and 1839, with illustrations by famous British caricaturist George Cruikshank. It features some of Dickens's earliest work, and was so popular that the author himself was cheerfully known as "Boz" to his readers for the rest of his working life.