Dickens's eighth novel was originally illustrated by “Phiz” (Hablot Knight Browne), and published serially between May 1849 and November 1850. In a letter to a friend, Dickens declared, "It had perfect possession of me when I wrote it." Indeed, when describing David's childhood, Dickens reaches back into his own memories, revealing a unique ability to make the reader see things through the eyes of a child and beautifully capturing the spirit of childhood itself.