Charles Dickens is widely considered to be the most important writer of the Victorian age. Dickens' success came, despite the odds being stacked against him. He had to work in a factory from a young age to support his family; his father was in debtors' prison. Dickens was eventually able to spend two years in school after which he worked at a law office. An interest in theater eventually led to a job as a freelance reporter. He published the majority of his novels as weekly or monthly serials, beginning with The Pickwick Papers in 1836. He was an immediate success, reaching an unprecedented level of popularity at the time.