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A Christmas Carol in Prose: Being a Ghost Story of Christmas:Complete with original illustrations

A Christmas Carol in Prose: Being a Ghost Story of Christmas:Complete with original illustrations

by Charles Dickens


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The combined qualities of the realist and the idealist which Dickens possessed to a remarkable degree, together with his naturally jovial attitude toward life in general, seem to have given him a remarkably happy feeling toward Christmas, though the privations and hardships of his boyhood could have allowed him but little real experience with this day of days.

Dickens gave his first formal expression to his Christmas thoughts in his series of small books, the first of which was the famous "Christmas Carol," the one perfect chrysolite. The success of the book was immediate. Thackeray wrote of it: "Who can listen to objections regarding such a book as this? It seems to me a national benefit, and to every man or woman who reads it, a personal kindness."

This volume was put forth in a very attractive manner, with illustrations by John Leech, who was the first artist to make these characters live, and his drawings were varied and spirited.

There followed upon this four others: "The Chimes," "The Cricket on the Hearth," "The Battle of Life," and "The Haunted Man," with illustrations on their first appearance by Doyle, Maclise, and others. The five are known to-day as the "Christmas Books." Of them all the "Carol" is the best known and loved, and "The Cricket on the Hearth," although third in the series, is perhaps next in point of popularity, and is especially familiar to Americans through Joseph Jefferson's characterisation of Caleb Plummer.

Dickens seems to have put his whole self into these glowing little stories. Whoever sees but a clever ghost story in the[iv] "Christmas Carol" misses its chief charm and lesson, for there is a different meaning in the movements of Scrooge and his attendant spirits. A new life is brought to Scrooge when he, "running to his window, opened it and put out his head. No fog, no mist; clear, bright, jovial, stirring cold; cold, piping for the blood to dance to; Golden sun-light; Heavenly sky; sweet fresh air; merry bells. Oh, glorious! Glorious!" All this brightness has its attendant shadow, and deep from the childish heart comes that true note of pathos, the ever memorable toast of Tiny Tim, "God bless Us, Every One!" "The Cricket on the Hearth" strikes a different note. Charmingly, poetically, the sweet chirping of the little cricket is associated with human feelings and actions, and at the crisis of the story decides the fate and fortune of the carrier and his wife.

Dickens's greatest gift was characterization, and no English writer, save Shakespeare, has drawn so many and so varied characters. It would be as absurd to interpret all of these as caricatures as to deny Dickens his great and varied powers of creation. Dickens exaggerated many of his comic and satirical characters, as was his right, for caricature and satire are very closely related, while exaggeration is the very essence of comedy. But there remains a host of characters marked by humour and pathos. Yet the pictorial presentation of Dickens's characters has ever tended toward the grotesque. The interpretations in this volume aim to eliminate the grosser phases of the caricature in favour of the more human. If the interpretations seem novel, if Scrooge be not as he has been pictured, it is because a more human Scrooge was desired—a Scrooge not wholly bad, a Scrooge of a better heart, a Scrooge to whom the resurrection described in this story was possible. It has been the illustrator's whole aim to make these people live in some form more fully consistent with their types.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781078709781
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Press
Publication date: 08/29/2019
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.31(d)

About the Author

Charles Dickens was born in a house in Mile End Terrace on the edge of Portsmouth on 7 February 1812. (It was given the name Mile End because it was about a mile from the gate in the wall around Portsmouth). At that time Portsmouth was dominated by the dockyard. His father John Dickens worked as a clerk in the Navy Pay Office. Charles Dickens was one of six children. He had an older sister Frances (Fanny) born in 1810 (she died in 1810), another sister Letitia was born in 1816 (she died in 1893), a sister named Harriet was born in 1819 but she died in childhood. A brother Alfred was born in 1822 (he died in 1860). Dickens had another brother, Augustus who was born in 1827 (he died in 1866).

In 1815 the family moved away to London. In 1817 Dickens and his family moved to Chatham in Kent. However in 1823 they moved to Camden in London.

However John Dickens spent beyond his means and he was sent to Marshalsea debtors prison when Charles was 12. (In those days people in debt could be imprisoned until their debts were paid off). Charles was found a job in a boot blacking factory. Fortunately after a few months a relative of John Dickens died and left him some money so he was able to pay his debts. Charles was eventually able to leave the blacking factory and return to school. However Charles never forgot this horrid experience.

Charles Dickens left school at the age of 15 and he started work in a solicitors office. However when he was 16 Charles became a journalist. Then in 1833 Dickens had his first story published. It was called A Dinner at Poplar Walk and it was published in a periodical called Monthly Magazine. Then in 1836-37 the first novel by Dickens, The Pickwick Papers was published as a serial. Meanwhile Dickens married a woman named Catherine Hogarth in Chelsea on 2 April 1836. They had 10 children but the marriage was not a happy one. Charles and Catherine separated in 1858.

Dickens wrote many more novels including Oliver Twist (1838), Nicholas Nickleby (1839), The Old Curiosity shop (1841) and Martin Chuzzlewit (1844). He also wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843. In 1848 Dickens wrote Dombey and Son.

Meanwhile in 1842 Dickens and his wife Catherine visited the USA. The visit was successful although Dickens annoyed some Americans by attacking slavery. Charles Dickens also visited Italy, Switzerland and France.

Date of Birth:

February 7, 1812

Date of Death:

June 18, 1870

Place of Birth:

Portsmouth, England

Place of Death:

Gad's Hill, Kent, England


Home-schooling; attended Dame School at Chatham briefly and Wellington

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