In early 1838 when he had finished Pickwick Papers and while still writing Oliver Twist, Dickens chose the awful boarding schools of Yorkshire in the north of England as the subject of his next novel. These nightmarish establishments specialized in accommodating children unwanted by their parents or guardians, and Dickens portrayed their horrors without much exaggeration. Even with such serious subject matter, Nickleby is one of Dickens’s funniest novels.