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Editorial Reviews. Review. 'One of the most glorious achievements of publishing in our time'.
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The pages are in overall Very Good condition. The First Edition Published: Christmas Stories Charles Dickens London: May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. Christmas Stories Dickens Charles Christmas Stories Dickens, Charles [et alia] Londion: Half leather over marbled paper covered boards, with gilt lettering on spine reading: Contains the following selections: Some rubbing to tips and top of backstrip.
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Great Expectations Rare Books Published: Very Good in boards. Some light edge wear with addition wear to crown and heel of spine. Rare Book Cellar Published: No stated date, but based upon research likely published between and Marvellous illustrated cover showing a seated girl looking at a standing man wearing a sign saying "Dr. Many black and white illustrations both in text and plates and several coloured plates, delightfully rendered.
Minor shelfwear and light rubbing or darkening, bumped corners, otherwise quite a good solid copy.
Christmas Stories by Dickens, Charles
Interior sound, hinges still strong, NO exposed mesh. A real find for the Dickens collector. Turtle Creek Books Published: Light shelf wear on cover. P-Town Book Sales Condition: Christmas Stories Dickens, Charles: Centennial Edition; First Printing. Near Fine in decorative boards. Publisher's notes laid neatly in. Near Fine in a Near Fine dust jacket. All domestic orders shipped protected in a Box. Edge wear and soiling.
Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase benefits world literacy! Bingo Books 2 Published: Cloud 9 Books Condition: First Edition Thus; First Printing. Very Good in a Good dust jacket. Jacket is worn with multiple chips and tears. Clean, tight copy showing light wear. No previous owner markings. In panicky response, Dickens toyed with the idea of saving money by letting his London house and taking his growing family to live abroad.
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So it is ironic - or perhaps entirely understandable - that at this very moment Dickens came up with a story that brought its author huge commercial success. He didn't see it like that, complaining bitterly that A Christmas Carol continued to be "an intolerable anxiety and disappointment" financially.
Not that his motivation for writing the book was entirely mercenary. Along with the rest of thinking Britain, Dickens had been appalled by the recent report of the Children's Employment Commission, which revealed that many young people laboured in wretched conditions. Thrashing around for an appropriate response, he eventually settled on writing a book that would remind the employing classes of their responsibility towards the men and women who worked in their shops, offices and mills.
Written at breakneck speed in the odd moments when he was not working on the increasingly thankless Chuzzlewit, A Christmas Carol worked its transforming magic even on its own creator.
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- God bless Tiny Tim.
In a letter written to an American friend, Dickens describes himself weeping, laughing and pounding the London pavements for 20 miles each night in the ecstatic realisation that he had created something extraordinary. What makes A Christmas Carol so important is that it marks the first time that anyone tried to imagine what a modern, urban Christmas might look like.
Here you will find no lingering nostalgia for the Baron's Hall with its extended kith network and 12 days of feudal feasting. Instead, this is a pared-down Christmas, a single day's holiday enjoyed by small nuclear families with no historical or social links to anything beyond themselves. We never hear about Bob Cratchit's mother or sister, and even Scrooge's nephew's house party consists only of close family. When the memory of a joyful Christmas past is held out to Scrooge in the form of Fezziwig's Ball, which he attended as a young man, it is an after-work party held in a merchant's warehouse rather than a scene of feudal feasting.
So Dickens demonstrates triumphantly that a meaningful Christmas is possible even in the most contemporary and urban of settings. Fears among gloomy commentators such as Thomas Carlyle that the dour Dissenting creed of the manufacturing classes had killed off older, more spontaneous types of seasonal joy are banished by Scrooge's conversion to the Christmas spirit.
Starting the story as a textbook Utilitarian who calmly accepts that starvation is Nature's way of keeping the population under control, he finishes it not by attempting to revive some pre-industrial whimsy overseen by the Lord of Misrule, but by raising Cratchit's wages and ordering an extra scuttle of coal. The real Utilitarians, who ran the Westminster Review, were naturally not happy with this blatant economic rule-breaking, and thundered in response: Even Carlyle, not known as a constitutionally cheery soul, was so enthused by the story that he immediately organised two dinner parties in his Cheyne Walk lair.
Dickens, to his great credit, did not let the "most prodigious success" of A Christmas Carol blow him off his chosen course of using the season to preach a pointed social sermon. The very next December he produced The Chimes, a dark and bitter book that deals, among other things, with Will Fern, an agricultural labourer charged with rick-burning. It was, though, a finger-wagging too far. Expecting a repeat of Tiny Tim, the buying public gave The Chimes a wide berth.
Clearly rattled, the next year Dickens returned in the schmaltzy The Cricket on the Hearth to an uncannily familiar plot, which features a misanthropic employer, a handicapped youngster and the intervention of a tiresome set of supernatural beings. Still, Dickens would not give up entirely on his project to use Christmas as a time to wake up the dozing conscience of the prosperous urban middle classes.
In the last seasonal book that he wrote, he revisited with renewed energy the problem of how Christ's birthday might be celebrated in an urban environment where it was all too easy for individuals to slip through the social net. In The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain he gives us a deeply unsettling unnamed street-child - alienation from society has rendered him entirely savage. Taking the risk of offending his readers, Dickens puts down his narrator's mask to make it clear just where the responsibility for such an abomination lies.
The street-child is not the only source of darkness in The Haunted Man. On to this narrative of righteous social anger Dickens grafts a far more personal account of memory, hurt and loss. Now approaching 40, he was clearly casting back over the painful recollections of his early life it is no coincidence that his next full-length book would be David Copperfield, with its autobiographical account of the deeply wounding blacking factory.
In a plot anticipatory of the Hollywood film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the central character Redlaw is given the chance of relief from all his painful memories, which include a scarring awareness of an early romantic betrayal. Far from bringing peace of mind, this emotional oblivion delivers only extra misery.
Dickens's point is that, without a full spectrum of recollections, painful as well as happy, we lose the true north of our moral compass. Unsurprisingly, The Haunted Man did not sell well and turned out to be Dickens's last attempt at a stand-alone Christmas book. From now on he would concentrate on producing shorter fiction for the Christmas editions of his new family magazines, first Household Words and then All the Year Round.
While many of these festive stories are listless potboilers, there are one or two which show Dickens continuing to work away at the perplexing question of what social and symbolic function Christmas might perform in an age of increasing anomie. One short piece in particular - "A Christmas Tree" - is remarkable for its deft blending of genres and narrative voice literary hybridity does not belong exclusively to the postmodern age. All the while that Dickens churned out his festive magazine stories, the popularity of A Christmas Carol continued to grow.
A hit from the beginning - the first edition sold out by Christmas Eve - it now started its steady progress towards becoming something more than a set of words on paper. For there was something about A Christmas Carol that allowed readers to take away from it exactly what they wanted.
Some Short Christmas Stories
In his The Lives and Times of Ebenezer Scrooge, the American critic Paul Davis has shown convincingly that Dickens's original audiences were not, by and large, very interested in Scrooge's back story, with its lengthy detours into his boyhood and courtship days. The ghosts bored them, too.
What they liked, and wanted more of, was the Cratchits who, in an age where God was increasingly in hiding, could be easily turned into an alternative Holy Family, with Tiny Tim doubling up as the Christ Child. This process of literary morphing was aided by the many pirate editions of the book, which appeared within weeks of the original, often adding new scenes and characters. Dickens immediately applied for a court injunction against these rogues and imposters, which suggests that there were definite limits to his reserves of seasonal goodwill.