Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. He is the author of the classic novella A Christmas Carol which remains remarkably popular and continues to spur adaptations in every artistic genre. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities (set in London and Paris) is his best-known work of historical fiction. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime and he is regarded as a literary colossus of his age, by the 20th century, critics and scholars had recognized him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are still widely read today. Dickens has been praised by many of his fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell, G. K. Chesterton, and Tom Wolfe—for his realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterizations, and social criticism.