A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, commonly known as A Christmas Carol, is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in London by Chapman & Hall in 1843 and illustrated by John Leech.
Charles John Huffam Dickens FRSA (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century, critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are still widely read today.
Born in Portsmouth, Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors' prison. Despite his lack of formal education, he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed readings extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, education, and other social reforms.
Dickens's literary success began with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire, and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most published in monthly or weekly instalments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication. Cliffhanger endings in his serial publications kept readers in suspense. The installment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience's reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback. For example, when his wife's chiropodist expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield seemed to reflect her disabilities, Dickens improved the character with positive features. His plots were carefully constructed, and he often wove elements from topical events into his narratives. Masses of the illiterate poor chipped in ha'pennies to have each new monthly episode read to them, opening up and inspiring a new class of readers.
His 1843 novella A Christmas Carol remains especially popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities (set in London and Paris) is his best-known work of historical fiction. The most famous celebrity of his era, he undertook in response to public demand, a series of public reading tours in the later part of his career. Dickens has been praised by many of his fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell, G. K. Chesterton, and Tom Wolfe—for his realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. However, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein of sentimentalism.
The term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters.
Dickens published well over a dozen major novels and novellas, a large number of short stories, including a number of Christmas-themed stories, a handful of plays, and several non-fiction books. Dickens's novels were initially serialised in weekly and monthly magazines, then reprinted in standard book formats.
The Pickwick Papers (The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club; monthly serial, April 1836 to November 1837)
Oliver Twist (The Adventures of Oliver Twist; monthly serial in Bentley's Miscellany, February 1837 to April 1839)
Nicholas Nickleby (The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby; monthly serial, April 1838 to October 1839)
The Old Curiosity Shop (weekly serial in Master Humphrey's Clock, April 1840 to November 1841)
Barnaby Rudge (Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty; weekly serial in Master Humphrey's Clock, February to November 1841)
A Christmas Carol (A Christmas Carol in Prose: Being a Ghost-story of Christmas; 1843)
Martin Chuzzlewit (The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit; monthly serial, January 1843 to July 1844)
The Chimes (The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In; 1844)
The Cricket on the Hearth (The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home; 1845)
Dombey and Son (Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son: Wholesale, Retail and for Exportation; monthly serial, October 1846 to April 1848)
The Haunted Man (The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain: A Fancy for Christmas-time; 1848)
David Copperfield (The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery [Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account]; monthly serial, May 1849 to November 1850)
Bleak House (monthly serial, March 1852 to September 1853)
Hard Times (Hard Times: For These Times; weekly serial in Household Words, 1 April 1854, to 12 August 1854)
Little Dorrit (monthly serial, December 1855 to June 1857)
A Tale of Two Cities (weekly serial in All the Year Round, 30 April 1859, to 26 November 1859)
Great Expectations (weekly serial in All the Year Round, 1 December 1860 to 3 August 1861)
Our Mutual Friend (monthly serial, May 1864 to November 1865)
The Signal-Man (1866), first published as part of the Mugby Junction collection in the 1866 Christmas edition of All the Year Round.
Edwin Drood (The Mystery of Edwin Drood; monthly serial, April 1870 to September 1870), left unfinished due to Dickens's death
A Christmas Carol recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.
Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol during a period when the British were exploring and re-evaluating past Christmas traditions, including carols, and newer customs such as Christmas trees. He was influenced by the experiences of his own youth and by the Christmas stories of other authors, including Washington Irving and Douglas Jerrold. Dickens had written three Christmas stories prior to the novella, and was inspired following a visit to the Field Lane Ragged School, one of several establishments for London's street children. The treatment of the poor and the ability of a selfish man to redeem himself by transforming into a more sympathetic character are the key themes of the story. There is discussion among academics as to whether this is a fully secular story, or if it is a Christian allegory.
Published on 19 December, the first edition sold out by Christmas Eve; by the end of 1844 thirteen editions had been released. Most critics reviewed the novella favourably. The story was illicitly copied in January 1844; Dickens took legal action against the publishers, who went bankrupt, further reducing Dickens's small profits from the publication. He went on to write four other Christmas stories in subsequent years. In 1849 he began public readings of the story, which proved so successful he undertook 127 further performances until 1870, the year of his death. A Christmas Carol has never been out of print and has been translated into several languages; the story has been adapted many times for film, stage, opera and other media.
A Christmas Carol captured the zeitgeist of the mid-Victorian revival of the Christmas holiday. Dickens had acknowledged the influence of the modern Western observance of Christmas and later inspired several aspects of Christmas, including family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games and a festive generosity of spirit.
Foggier yet, and colder! Piercing, searching, biting cold."
In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens the weather is so cold and foggy that the water freezes in the pipes and the young boys slide down roads of snow and frozen ice.
A Christmas Carol is about a grumpy, selfish, melancholy old man called Scrooge who believes homeless people should go to prison or into workhouses. He hates Christmas and is not generous to anyone, even himself. One freezing cold night he is haunted by three Christmas ghosts. Will they change his life forever?
The book was written such a long time ago that Dickens' writing looks and sounds funny, and some words mum couldn't even read, but I could still understand most of it and I enjoyed it. The moral of this book is to be generous at Christmas and enjoy what you have – and also spend time with friends and family. I rate this book 8? out of 10 and recommend it to people who like to read classics.
Good for readers over age 9.
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