Author(s): Charles Dickens; David Edgar (Adapted by)
A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens, first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. The story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge's ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation resulting from supernatural visits from Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim. A Christmas carol was written and published in early Victorian era Britain, a period when there was both strong nostalgia for old Christmas traditions and an initiation of new practices such as Christmas trees and greeting cards. Dickens's sources for the tale appear to be many and varied but are principally the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales. The tale has been viewed by critics as an indictment of 19th-century industrial capitalism. It has been credited with restoring the holiday to one of merriment and festivity in Britain and America after a period of sobriety and sombreness. A Christmas Carol remains popular, has never been out of print, and has been adapted to film, stage, opera, and other media multiple times. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is the the christmas carol, telling the tale of Scrooge you will find out what is this christmas carol about. In the middle 19th century, a nostalgic interest in pre-Cromwell Christmas traditions swept Victorian England following the publications of Davies Gilbert's Some Ancient Christmas Carols (1822), William B. Sandys's Selection of Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern (1833), and Thomas K. Hervey's The Book of Christmas (1837). That interest was further stimulated by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's German-born husband, who popularized the German Christmas tree in Britain after their marriage in 1841, the first Christmas card in 1843, and a revival in carol singing. 6] 7] Hervey's study of Christmas customs attributed their passing to regrettable social change and the urbanization of England. Dickens' Carol was one of the greatest influences in rejuvenating the old Christmas traditions of England, but, while it brings to the reader images of light, joy, warmth and life, it also brings strong and unforgettable images of darkness, despair, coldness, sadness and death. Scrooge himself is the embodiment of winter, and, just as winter is followed by spring and the renewal of life, so too is Scrooge's cold, pinched heart restored to the innocent goodwill he had known in his childhood and youth. A Christmas Carol was published 27 years before the author's death. When Dickens died on June 9, 1870, his obituary in The New York Times said "He was incomparably the greatest novelist of his time." Dickens divides the book into five chapters, which he labels "staves", that is, song stanzas or verses, in keeping with the title of the book. He uses a similar device in his next two Christmas books, titling the four divisions of The Chimes, "quarters", after the quarter-hour tolling of clock chimes, and naming the parts of The Cricket on the Hearth "chirps". The tale begins on a "cold, bleak, biting" Christmas Eve exactly seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge's business partner, Jacob Marley. Scrooge is established within the first stave as "a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner " who has no place in his life for kindness, compassion, charity or benevolence. He hates Christmas, calling it "humbug", refuses his nephew Fred's dinner invitation, and rudely turns away two gentlemen who seek a donation from him to provide a Christmas dinner for the Poor. His only "Christmas gift" is allowing his overworked, underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit Christmas Day off with pay - which he does only to keep with social custom, Scrooge considering it "a poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December ".