A Literary Attempted Homocide?

Spent last evening at my friend Lyla's. We solve the world's problems in the Red Nook, which is her study. Because we both read Dickens' David Copperfield in the last month, we discussed the characters as if they were family members.

Copperfield is thought by many to be modeled on Dickens' own life. This raises some interesting questions. In the book, Copperfield marries Dora, a complete ditz. He soldiers through the marriage. Dora dies at a mercifully young age, and Copperfield marries Agnes, a friend and soulmate from way back, the woman he should have married in the first place.

So, what happened in Dickens' own life? Lyla has a book about Dickens and his times, so we did some research. Seems young Charles married a beautiful woman who was a bit on the shallow side. Just like Dora. But did she die at the appropriate time as Dora did? No, she was still alive and kicking when Dickens finished Copperfield in 1850.

One wonders: was Dickens' wife aware that she was apparently the model for the novel's Dora, who so conveniently died? How might it affect one's marriage to kill off a character clearly modeled on your present wife?

Lyla read on: Dickens' wife had a nervous breakdown in 1851, one year after Copperfield. They separated a few years later.