Have a Dickens of a Victorian Christmas | Victorian Holidays | Meredith Sweetpea


A-Christmas-Carol

A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens

What’s more beloved at Christmastime than A Christmas Carol by English author Charles Dickens.  We all are familiar with that story, but do you know the story behind the story?

A Christmas Carol was first published as a serial, telling the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his supernatural visits by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. It was an instant and popular success.

Written in the Victorian Era

The book was written and published in Britain’s Victorian Era, a period where old Christmas traditions were melding with new customs like Christmas trees and holiday cards.  Prince Albert (Queen Victoria’s husband) brought the first Christmas tree into the palaces shortly after his marriage in 1841. The first Christmas card was sent in 1843, and carol singing was revived.

There is no definitive answer as to where Dickens got the story idea. Some think it was from the humiliating events of his childhood and his sympathy for the poor. Dickens’ father, John, was imprisoned in the Marshalsea and 12-year-old Charles was forced into nearby lodgings, to sell his books, and to take a job in a blacking factory. When his father was released from jail after three months, Charles was forced to continue working in the factory, in despair, a time that haunted him forever. It was also during this time that Dickens became familiar with the lives of the poor men, women and children in London, and witnessed the social injustices they suffered.

Profits were low, but acclaim was high

A-Christmas-Carol-book

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Dickens went on to urge workers and employers to join together for educational reform. He helped his cause with the creation of the plot of A Christmas Carol. The book was published on December 17, 1843. Dickens unfortunately declined a lump-sum payment for the book, choosing instead to take a percentage of the profits, thinking he would make more money this way. Production costs were higher than estimated though, and Dickens did not profit greatly from the book. It was, however, met with immediate critical acclaim.

In 1853, A Christmas Carol was selected by Dickens for his first publish reading, which was a great success. He continued to read the tale in public a total of 127 times, and it was his farewell performance prior to his death in 1870.

A Christmas Carol remains an abiding influence

The story itself was credited with bringing cheer and joy into Britain and America after long periods of somberness. It is considered one of the greatest influences in rejuvenating the old English Christmas traditions.

Happy Holidays to all from Miss Meredith Sweetpea.

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