A Christmas Carol.
Charles Dickens called it his “little Christmas book,” and he hoped that this hastily penned story could bring in enough money to pay the bills. The checks had stopped coming. Even though Dickens was an established author, work had slowed down.
The idea for his story came on a long night-walk through London. Dickens often walked at night, sometimes 15 or 20 miles, and as he walked he thought about the miserable poor. Many worked so hard, but they had nothing to show for it. On that night, Dickens identified with them.
He returned home, and he wrote. Dickens wrote feverishly for six weeks, laughing and weeping over his characters and his words. When writer’s block struck, he walked it out wandering the streets of London looking for inspiration. He finished A Christmas Carol at the end of November just in time for Christmas.—
In fact, this week, on December 17, we celebrate the 174th anniversary of its publication.
Dickens’ little Christmas book that he hoped could bring in enough money to pay the bills did! It became an instant bestseller. Dickens’ celebrated. In his own words, he “broke out like a madman.”
A Christmas Carol helped to change the way Victorian England celebrated Christmas. In the 19th Century, Christmas was a quiet holiday and not the big celebration that it is today; however, the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge from a cold miser to a joyful philanthropist encouraged others in the act of giving. It brought joy into the bleak mid-winter.
Just six weeks after its publication, A Christmas Carol was performed on stage, first in London and then in New York. The little Christmas book that could kept on going, and Charles Dickens, the penniless author, became world-famous. The words of his rushed little book lived on in stage productions, musicals and films. A Christmas Carol has never gone out of print—and it likely never will.
Merry Christmas to you, my readers. And God Bless You, Every One.
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