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I'll not insult you all by describing the action of this classic novella, nor belabor the lesson taught.  I'm sure even Mowgli the Jungle Boy must have heard this story once a year growing up in the jungle.  But with all the TV and movie and cartoon and Muppet iterations (the best of which remains the 1951 Alastair Sim movie version), when's the last time you went back and actually read the original book?

Dickens is, of course, a wonderful author and earlier generations read everything that he wrote.  Today, however, you read an obligatory novel or two in High School, breath a sigh of relief that's over and then blithely ignore him along with the rest of the ancients.  But, as a reacquaintance with A Christmas Carol will remind you, he remains pretty accessible and his novels are often quite fun.  What's more, there's even a Reading Version (available online, just click the hypertext) of the story that Dickens condensed himself for his numerous public readings of the tale.  It's perfect for reading aloud to the family.

Here's just a sample of the prose to entice you:

On Scrooge before:
    Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge. a squeezing, wrenching, grasping,
    scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever
    struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him
    froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes
    red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head,
    and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with
    him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.

and Scrooge after:
    Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not
    die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as
    the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some
    people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was
    wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did
    not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway,
    he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less
    attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

    He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever
    afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man
    alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim
    observed, God bless Us, Every One!

We, all of us, have a tendency to let the classics become so encrusted that we take them for granted and forget how good they really are; if this has happened for you with A Christmas Carol, do yourself a favor and dig out a copy and reread it this Holiday Season.  I bet it becomes an annual tradition.


Grade: (A+)


See also:

Charles Dickens (7 books reviewed)
Charles Dickens Links:
    -WIKIPEDIA: Charles Dickens
    -ESSAY: Method, Shmethod (George Saunders, Feb 6, 2022, Story Time)
    -ESSAY: The Crisis That Nearly Cost Charles Dickens His Career (Louis Menand, Feb. 24th, 2022, The New Yorker)
    -ESSAY: Famous Yet Elusive: On Charles Dickens’s Unstable Reputation: “Even in photographs it looked as if his soul had been ‘pumped out of him.’’ (By Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, March 1, 2022, LitHub)
    -ARTICLE: Forget Wordle! Can you crack the Dickens Code? An IT worker from California just did (Simon Usborne, 2/7/22, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Festival of the Senses: The ultimate awakening in Dickens' A Christmas Carol. (Dorothy Reno, December 13, 2021, Washington Independent Review of Books)
    -ESSAY: The Liberation of Scrooge : Dickens’ tale is so effective because, in the words of Chesterton, it is targeted not at institutions but “an expression of the human face.” (Richard Gunderman, 12/24/20. law & Liberty)
    -ESSAY: Charles Dickens, the Writer Who Saw Lockdown Everywhere: For the novelist, imprisonment wasn’t just a stain on society; it was an aspect of the self (Laurence Scott, december 2020, The New Yorker)
    -ESSAY: DISCOVERING CHARLES DICKENS' "THE SIGNALMAN": Laurie Loewenstein on a classic Dickens ghost story. (LAURIE LOEWENSTEIN, 10/11/12, CrimeReads)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Let Charles Dickens’s The Chimes Invigorate Your Sense of Hope (Ben Fulton, DECEMBER 29, 2023, Common Reader)
-REVIEW : of 'Savage Reprisals: Bleak House, Madame Bovary, Buddenbrooks' by Peter Gay (Lorraine Adams, Washington Post)
    -REVIEW: of Dickens By Peter Ackroyd (Bryan Appleyard, Literary Review)

Book-related and General Links:

-ESSAY: Humbug to Scrooge & Sanger: The Constitution & the “Surplus Population” (Tyler Graham, January 6th, 2023, Imaginative Conservative)
    -ESSAY: What Is the True Nature of Ebenezer Scrooge? (Titus Techera, December 18th, 2023, Imaginative Conservative)
    -ESSAY: How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol anticipated the psychology of Freud in its tale of childhood trauma (Madeline Wood, 12/21/23, The Conversation)
    -ESSAY:     -Charles Dickens (1812-1870)(kirjasto)
    -ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA: Your search: "charles dickens"
    -ETEXT: (Illustrated)
    -ETEXT: of The Reading Version
    -etexts of Dickens works
    -Charles Dickens Overview
    -The Dickens Page
    -Charles Dickens
    -Charles Dickens - Gad's Hill Place.
    -David Perdue's Charles Dickens Page
    -Charles Dickens (Most Web)
    -ESSAY: Holy Ghosts & the Spirit of Christmas: “A Christmas Carol” (Joseph Pearce, December 23rd, 2021, Imaginative Conservative)
    -ESSAY: Publication of A Christmas Carol: The first edition of 6,000 copies was published on 19December 1843. (Mathew Lyons, 12 December 2021, History Today)
    -ARTICLE : The tale behind a Christmas classic (JEFF GUINN, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
    -An Outline of the English Novel: The Short List (San Antonio College LitWeb)
    -Edgar Johnson: Dickens on the Barricades (NY Review of Books)