Reviews of A Christmas Carol (1843) and related work

A Christmas Carol (1843Text)

Charles Dickens (writer).

Read in 2020.

Though it’s short enough, Dickens is not at his best here. You get sentences like this one:

But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.

Dickens read the story aloud between 1853 and 1870, but even for a story intended to be read that way, the composition is awkward. I’m not a big fan of the idea of Christmas being inherently social, either; that seems to be something new that Dickens added to the pagan and Christian traditions. Read it for its deep influence on the holiday and other culture, especially the moralistic ghost story.

References here: Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (1867/1887), “A Hanging” (1931), “Blackadder’s Christmas Carol” (1988), DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990), Rick and Morty (2013).

text fiction

Scrooged (1988Moving picture, 101 minutes)

moving picture adaptation fiction

A Christmas Carol (1999Moving picture, 95 minutes)

Seen in 2021.

This is the Patrick Stewart version with typically late-1990s CGI, which looks as bad now as it did then. A decade earlier, Stewart did a one-man version adaptation for the stage, which from what I hear is more fun, at least if you know the story.

moving picture adaptation fiction