Charles Dickens developed a ritualistic routine in his domestic life, together with an obsessive approach to work, which is consistent with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
It can be seen reflected in some of his characters, claims a new biography.
Dickens had a habit of rearranging furniture whenever he stayed in a hotel room and inspecting his children's bedrooms every morning, leaving behind notes when he was not satisfied with their tidiness.
Slater said: "The disorder of his upbringing may have had the effect on him of wanting to be in control."
He reckons that Little Dorrit, the main character in Dickens's novel of the same name, reflected his character.
"There she is, the epitome of neatness, in the squalid atmosphere of the Marshalsea prison making order and making her father comfortable and sweeping and cleaning and tidying all the time," said Slater.
Slater said there were also signs of OCD in the semi-autobiographical David Copperfield.
Also, when it came to women, the author's attitude was governed by neatness.