Generally regarded as the greatest English novelist, Charles Dickens, enjoyed a wider popularity than any previous author had done during his lifetime. Much in his whole could appeal to simple and sophisticated, to the poor and to the Queen, and technological developments as well as the qualities of his work enabled his fame to spread worldwide very quickly. His long career saw fluctuations in the reception and sales of individuals novels, but none of them was negligible or uncharacteristic or disregarded, and, though his now admired for aspects and phases of his work that were given less weight by his contemporaries, his popularity has never ceased and his present critical standing is higher than ever before. The most abundantly comic of English authors, he was much more than a great entertainer. The range, compassion, and intelligence of his apprehension of his society and its shortcoming enriched his novels and made him both one of the great forces in 19th century literature and an influential spokesman of the conscience of his age.