Monday, 9 January 2017

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was published in December 1843 by which time Dickens was already a successful author.  My copy was a Book Club edition which contained the original illustrations by John Leech.  The story of A Christmas Carol is very well-known with numerous film and TV adaptations being made.  Although I knew the story I had never read the original book.

The main character is the miser Scrooge who is described as "a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner" and "as solitary as an oyster."  The story starts on Christmas Eve but Scrooge does not enter into the spirit of Christmas saying "I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry."  When he gets home from work he is visited by the ghost of Marley, his former partner, who tell him he will be haunted by three spirits.  During the night these spirits come one at a time and show him his past, his present and what might happen in the future.  As we know, Scrooge was much moved by what he saw and determined to change his life saying, "I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year."

Dickens' descriptions in this book are excellent with the cold and fog adding to the ghostly atmosphere.

"The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms."

"The ancient tower of a church, whose gruff old bell was always peeping slyly down at Scrooge out a gothic window in the wall, became invisible, with tremulous vibrations afterwards, as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there.  The cold became intense."

A Christmas Carol was one of the books I decided to read for the Literary Christmas Challenge and was an excellent read for this time of year.  This book would be a good introduction to Dickens' novels for anyone who is put off by his longer books.  However I would encourage you to persevere as Dickens' books are well worth the effort.  If you are interested in finding out more about Charles Dickens a good website is David Perdue's Charles Dickens Page. 


  1. Great review! Thanks for participating in 2016's A Literary Christmas (and I hope you'll be back for it again this next Christmas season!) *wink*

    'A Christmas Carol' is one of my favorite holiday reads. I was happy to see you enjoyed it too!


  2. I quite agree. Dickens is worth any effort. I believe I've read somewhere (but cursory searches just now could not confirm it), that A Christmas Carol has been adapted to film more than any other written work. There are some great versions. I like Patrick Stewart's portrayal of Scrooge best, or perhaps Scrooge McDuck.