Charles Dickens A Christmas  E1386220366230

Ghost Story of Christmas

My favorite Christmas story is the Ghost story of Jacob Marley. We never pair ghosts with Christmas, that’s more of a Halloween thing. Yet, Charles Dickens wrote this ghost story for Christmas. I remember reenacting the play in sixth grade; I was a ghost. I can’t seem to remember which one though.
The story has been made into movies, cartoons, plays, painted, drawn, and illustrated — but have you read the original?  “A Christmas Carol”  was published on Dec. 17, 1843.  It was titled:
A Christmas Carol 
in Prose 
Being A Ghost Story of Christmas
 preface to A christmas carol

When Charles Dickens wrote the story, he was broke, in debt and his wife was pregnant with their fifth child. He needed a quick best seller and wrote the Christmas Carol in 6 weeks. The first printing of 6,000 copies sold out in three days. However, he didn’t make as much money as he figured. The cost of the eight illustrations, four of them hand-colored made it more expensive.

The etchings were done by John Leech, who had abandoned his medical studies in the face of bankruptcy and was supporting his family by drawing. These were tough economic times.
The book reflected much of Dicken’s own childhood. At the age of 12,  Charles Dickens was forced from school and sent to work at a boot-blacking factory for 6 schillings a week. He glued labels on bottles of black polish. His father, a clerk in the navy pay office had been thrown into Marshalsea debtors’ prison for a debt to a banker. Charles had to support the family. It was 1824 — Victorian England and these experiences shaped his views and his writing.
A Christmas Carol was probably Dickens most well-known book. It brought the joy of Christmas into the home, which was a new idea in Victorian England.
Charles Dickens:
Home in Portsmouth:
Where he lived while working in the blacking factory when his father was in debtors prison:
charles dickens
 Dicken’s Later Home was Gad’s Hill Place in Kent: He had seen this home as a young lad and his father had told him if he worked hard he may one day be able to enjoy a home like this, which became a dream come true.
charles dickens home

First Edition:

1868 Edition:

First Edition Images: University of Glasgow, Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. With Illustrations by John Leech. London: Chapman & Hall, Dec 17,1843.

Free sources:

Audio reading of The Christmas Carol 

The 1971 animated version of the Charles Dickens classic. Animated in the style of 1800s engravings by Richard Williams Studio. Features the voices of Alistair Sim Michael Redgrave and Michael Hordern’s 1951 performance as Marley’s Ghost . Animation by Ken Harris, Abe Levitow, among others. Produced by Chuck Jones. This film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for 1972:

  • I didn’t know a lot of this. Thank you for the information. Merry Christmas!

  • You are so full of information I love your posts. i just watched that movie the other night.

  • Rach

    My three kids and I are trying to finish the original version before christmas! Thank you for the extra bit of fun info on c.d.

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