A new view of great Victorian writers

Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville are three Victorian authors that particularly interest me. The choice of settings to search for them on Ngram Viewer was simple, then. My single concern was using capital letters, as I was searching for people’s names and limit the period of time from 1800 to 1900.

According to the resulting graphic, the three writers are not mentioned until 1833, as they were really young and starting their careers. Poe was born in 1809, Dickens was born in 1812 and Melville in 1819. Dickens started submitting his sketches of the life in London to magazines in 1833. It is exactly the year that the graphic shows that he started to be more mentioned, a movement that continued increasing till 1871. A suggestion for the relative decrease in the graph at this time in his death on June 8, 1870. He left an unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.  It has already started to be published in a serial form since April 1870. Analyzing the graphic, we can consider that Charles Dickens died on the top of his career. Since 1877, we can verify a new growth in his “popularity”. In this year, a book called The works of Charles Dickens was published and may be the reason to this new growth.


In the case of Herman Melville, we can see that he has been more mentioned during the 1840s. It may be related to his trips over the sea, that gave him the material for four books in addition to Moby Dick. However, this novel that would be his great success, was not received well at the time because of its unusual combination of “whaling lore” and metaphysical themes. This may be the reason of his relatively low popularity over the 19th century, compared to Charles Dickens.

Edgar Allan Poe had a brief life – he died on October 7, 1849, before he has started to be more mentioned, according to Ngram Viewer. The graphic shows a special increase in Poe’s mentions over the 1870s. The reason may be the biographies and other works about him that have been published since 1870.


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