When the desperately poor serve the outrageously rich, who are oblivious to their suffering, it is said to be Dickensian. When unscrupulous businessmen abuse labourers, including child labourers, it is Dickensian. 

And when modern life reveals itself to be scarcely removed from the conditions of Victorian England, we shine a light on this fact by calling such conditions Dickensian. 

The term Dickensian is derived from Dickens, Charles Dickens, the British author who wrote A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities and many other works that were both entertaining and scathing in their critique of British society.

How Dickens used humour to transform 

Dickens lived in Victorian England, an era defined by the abutment of extreme wealth and poverty. When you consider his biography, it's easy to see why Dickens wove economic and social criticism into his work.

Born in Portsmouth, Dickens left school at the age of 12 to work in a boot-blacking factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors' prison. 

He was so adept at sugarcoating the pill of social criticism with humour that Queen Victoria was an avid reader of his work. 

Charles Dickens was what we might now call an 'authorpreneur' in that he 'maximised the value' of his literary works by selling merchandise, adapting plays and keenly attending to the business side of his life. 

Dickens was buried in a place of great honour, Westminster Abbey, where Arthur Penrhyn Stanley delivered a memorial elegy, lauding 'the genial and loving humourist whom we now mourn', for showing by his own example 'that even in dealing with the darkest scenes and the most degraded characters, genius could still be clean, and mirth could be innocent'.

Cheers to that. Now you might be thinking: How was this approach different from Punk?

What is Punk? And how is it different from Dickens?

Punk also came out of England, about 100 years after Dickens. Its defining features include class antipathy and aesthetic confrontation. Punk demanded the embrace, celebration and elevation of things that are (or were) typically regarded as low class.  

Charles Dickens used humour to connect people across class divides through entertainment and literature. He sought to transform the Scrooges of this world, in part by using humour to unlock their empathy for the Bob Cratchits of this world.

Punk would rather dress Cratchit in defiant streetwear and put a mince in Cratchit's hand so he can pie Scrooge in the face. 

Unlike Dickens, Punk is not an inside job. Punk confronts, which is necessary, but it does not necessarily transform.  

What is Dick Ensian?

Dick Ensian t-shirt

A heritage, a lifestyle—a spirit that honours the (Christmas) past, respects the (Christmas) future and lives in the (#Christmas) present. That's Dick Ensian.

Our Dick Ensian line of clothing is at once a respectful nod to Dickens and a subtle criticism of designer clothing and the ways in which modern life remains Dickensian.

While one could say that our Dick Ensian clothing is a bit Punk, it isn't confrontational. It's more of an inside job. It's more Dickensian.   

Whilst you're here, check out our Dick Ensian line. And don't miss our Jacob Marley items, which feature a chain design. 

And if you're interested in learning more about Jolly & Goode, may we recommend our FAQ?