David Copperfield was written in 1849-1850 and was Dickens' eighth full-length novel, though the first to be written in the first person. It is a Bildungsroman (a coming of age novel) and draws on many of the details of Dickens' own life.
He was born with his head helmeted by part of the amniotic sac. This was considered to be a lucky omen. The caul was auctioned off as a talisman to protect against drowning.
St. James Church in Cooling, Kent is thought to be the inspiration for scenes in both David Copperfield and Great Expectations.
“Saracen” was the term used by the ancient Romans to denote the inhabitants of Syria. By Dickens' time the word had become synonymous with Arabs, Heathens or warlike savages.
“Dutch” may be a corruption of the word “Deutsch,” meaning German. Compared to the famous Swiss models, German clocks were less reliable and less expensive.
The name of David Copperfield’s childhood home is symbolic and foreshadows future events. Folklore has it that the rook is able to predict the weather and sense approaching death.
A rookery is the nesting area for these birds, and it was thought that an abandoned rookery brought bad luck to the owners of the land.
A catechism was a kind of religious user's manual and was often styled as a series of questions and answers.
A reference to the Parable of the Lost Sheep as recorded by Matthew and Luke in the New Testament of the Christian Bible.