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; the first edition was illustrated by John Leech. A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man. Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol at a time when the British were examining and exploring Christmas traditions from the past, such as carols, as well as new customs such as Christmas trees. He was influenced by experiences from his own past, and from 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 to write the story following a visit to the Field Lane Ragged school, one of several establishments for London's half-starved, illiterate street children. The treatment of the poor and the ability of a self-interested man redeeming himself by transforming into a more sympathetic character are the key themes of the story. There is discussion among academics as to whether this was a fully secular story, or if it is a Christian allegory.
On a cold, blustery Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge toils in his countinghouse, unable to give a kind word to a single soul. He cares nothing for the spirit of giving, shouting “Bah!” and “Humbug!” at the very mention of the holiday. But four ghostly visitors come to show him a different way, opening Scrooge’s heart to kindness and charity, fraternity and goodwill—a lesson he takes to Christmas and beyond.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a selfish, miserable miser. The only thing he cares about is making money and keeping it. He despises the poor and needy, and more that anything he hates Christmas ... until one Christmas he gets a rude awakening to just how shallow and sad his life really is.
An immediate bestseller when it was first published in December 1843, A Christmas Carol has endured ever since as a perennial Yuletide favorite. Charles Dickens's beloved tale about the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge--who comes to know the meaning of kindness, charity, and goodwill through a haunting Christmas Eve encounter with four ghosts--is a heartwarming celebration of the spirit of Christmas. 'Whether the Christmas visions would or would not convert Scrooge, they convert us,' wrote G. K. Chesterton. 'The story sings from end to end like a happy man going home.' The Modern Library edition also presents two more of Dickens's popular Christmas stories, The Chimes and The Haunted Man, Dickens's last Christmas tale, which features one of his greatest comic families, the Tetterbys. With an introduction by John Irving.
This collection of new essays draws attention to the various and complex ways in which scholars and critics have reflected upon and reacted to Charles Dickens’s texts, including his novels, short fiction and journalism. Subsequent to the initial publication of Dickens’s works, writers, visual artists and filmmakers have re-imagined, transposed and transformed them from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Although Reflections on / of Dickens recognizes the writer’s importance as first and foremost a major figure in literature, it nevertheless offers a uniquely vast array of approaches to his literary output, ranging from intertextual and generic strategies, through gender studies, translation studies and comparative literary studies, to issues connected with reception, popular culture, visual culture and performing arts. The diverse thematic preoccupations present in this highly interdisciplinary volume attest to Dickens’s central position in the British canon and his global appeal, while at the same time narrowing the gap between traditional textual analysis and more contextualised readings of his oeuvre, taking into account the socio-cultural and historical circumstances thanks to which his literary reputation continues to flourish.