Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Christmas Carol - by Charles Dickens

I was going to do this blog on one of Dicken's lesser known novellas about Christmas, such as The Cricket on the Hearth (UK edition) (Deutsch edition), but I had to speak about A Christmas Carol (UK edition) (Deutsch edition). 
"It is required of every man, that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death."
And so it is I am compelled every December to take down this short book and read again how Scrooge's life was transformed in just one night.  It was truly an ultimate makeover from the man who begrudges coal for the fire to the man who giggles and flings money out the window for the purchase of a Christmas goose to be given away!

Go with Scrooge on his ghostly tour as he eavesdrops on his past, the present and even his own death.  It is one of the gifts of this book that it is not so much about the holiday as something larger.  The case is made for why Scrooge is the way he is, a product of choice, but also circumstance, and yet at an advanced age he totally remakes himself.

Dickens remade Christmas too.  In urging that Scrooge keep the day, it seems he spurred his readers to celebrate Christmas Day with a festive meal and family and friends and charity to strangers.  A Christmas Carol is not about exchanging gifts and shopping.  That seems to have been added later.  We could do worse that revisit Christmas Past.

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