WIR #37: A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolDickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol, In Prose: Being A Ghost Story of Christmas. (This volume published by Barnes & Noble Books, 1992.)

Charles Dickens @ Wikipedia


This volume in my library contains four of Charles Dickens's most successful stories, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and A Christmas Carol, the full title of the story being, A Christmas Carol, In Prose: Being A Ghost Story of Christmas. I absolutely love this particular story and, for many years now, have made a habit of reading it at this time of year.

The first time I read A Christmas Carol I did so because of the many movies I'd seen based on it (I've even seen Disney's latest version). My motivation was to learn which, if any, followed the story the closest. Most snip out much of the tale, and almost all remove scenes shown to Scrooge of sailors aboard ships at Christmastime (Disney's version with Jim Carrey is no exception to this rule).

I absolutely adore the opening to this story:

Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to.

Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Barnes & Noble, in this volume, include a note from Charles Dickens just after the title page:

I have endeavored in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.

Their faithful Friend and Servant,
C. D.
December, 1843

It shan't take me long to read this. A day, if I've the mind, but I haven't, so I expect to take perhaps three, maybe four.

Just remember: Old Marley was dead, as dead as a door-nail.

4 comment(s):

Me said...
December 16, 2009 12:11 AM

Oh 'e was mos' certainly dead, Squire, wiffout no word of a lie! If old Mr. Scrooge says summat be so, then it be so and there ain't no argument to be raised. *doffs top hat*

Compliments of the season to ya!
Meg

g d townshende said...
December 16, 2009 12:33 AM

MEG! :D Good to hear from you! How've you been? Hope all is well with you and your family.

gypsyharper said...
December 16, 2009 2:38 PM

We just closed the musical version of this at our local community theater (there's a movie with Kelsey Grammar - obviously ours was a bit different, being staged and not filmed and all, but the script and music are basically the same). I'm ashamed to say I've never actually read this one (the only Dickens novel out of the four in your compilation that I haven't read), but I do own a copy, so maybe now that finals are over I'll have to remedy that.

g d townshende said...
December 16, 2009 2:43 PM

You should read it, Leslie. If you liked the others, you'll like this. It is far richer than any of the movies based on it.

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