Today – 19 th December
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.
The book 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
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 .
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.