Dickens and the Art of Serialization

During an impressive period of literary fame in the Victorian era, Charles Dickens not only produced a number of novels that have survived the test of time, but he also created a wide body of work in short form pieces, including numerous novellas and short stories. Dealing with the social issues of the time with stark realism, often from the viewpoint of the oppressed, Dickens established a storytelling model that has influenced many of today's top authors.     

Every one of Dickens novels was originally released in serialized form, beginning with his first novel, The Pickwick Papers, through his final uncompleted work, The Mystery of Edward Drood

As described by Professor Joel J. Brattin, writing for Project Boz:

Publishing his novels in serial form expanded Dickens’s readership, as more people could afford to buy fiction on the installment plan; publishers, too, liked the idea, as it allowed them to increase sales and to offer advertisements in the serial parts.  And Dickens enjoyed the intimacy with his audience that serialization provided.

This idea could adapt well to audio narration, providing installments of a longer work over a period of weeks or months, building interest and momentum in much the same way as episodic shows on Netflix or Starz keep the audience coming back to see what happens next to their favorite characters.

The following animation, scripted by Educator Iseult Gillespie, offers insights into Dickens' methods and unique storytelling approach.  

The animation was produced by the TED-ed, a coalition of artists and educators who are building an educational community using Patreon as a platform and funding source.