A Christmas Carol

A Christmas book by Charles Dickens (1812–1870), published in 1843. Dickens was prompted to write this morality tale having been ‘perfectly stricken down’ by the appalling revelations published in a parliamentary report on child labour in 1843. A Christmas Carol is an allegory about a penny-pinching misanthrope, Ebenezer Scrooge, who on Christmas Eve receives an unexpected visit from the spectre of his long-dead business partner. Jacob Marley warns Scrooge that three further spirits will haunt him. The Ghost of Christmas Past, The Ghost of Christmas Present, and The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come force Scrooge to confront the consequences of his actions. He is especially horrified by the hardship endured by the family of his clerk, Bob Cratchit. Scrooge’s chastening experiences have a salutary effect: the miser is redeemed and transformed. In the Preface, Dickens wrote ‘I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it’.

First edition of A Christmas Carol

First edition of A Christmas Carol

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Usage terms Public Domain

Creator:
Charles Dickens
Published:
1843
Forms:
Prose
Genre:
Victorian literature
Literary period:
Victorian

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Dickens’s A Christmas Carol: Poverty, Money and Miserliness

Dickens’s A Christmas Carol: Poverty, Money and Miserliness

The influence of economic and political crises on Dickens's A Christmas Carol.

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Ghosts in A Christmas Carol

The origins of A Christmas Carol

Professor Michael Slater MBE explains the background to Charles Dickens’s novel, A Christmas Carol, reveals his reasons for writing it and discusses its monumental success. Filmed at the Charles Dickens Museum, London. - video

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