Cover image for A Christmas carol
Title:
A Christmas carol
Author:
Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870.
Publication Information:
New York : Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1990.
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9781556701610
Format :
Book

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Central Library FICTION Juvenile Current Holiday Item Childrens Area-Holiday
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Summary

Author Notes

Charles Dickens, perhaps the best British novelist of the Victorian era, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England on February 7, 1812. His happy early childhood was interrupted when his father was sent to debtors' prison, and young Dickens had to go to work in a factory at age twelve. Later, he took jobs as an office boy and journalist before publishing essays and stories in the 1830s.

His first novel, The Pickwick Papers, made him a famous and popular author at the age of twenty-five. Subsequent works were published serially in periodicals and cemented his reputation as a master of colorful characterization, and as a harsh critic of social evils and corrupt institutions. His many books include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Great Expectations, Little Dorrit, A Christmas Carol, and A Tale of Two Cities.

Dickens married Catherine Hogarth in 1836, and the couple had nine children before separating in 1858 when he began a long affair with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. Despite the scandal, Dickens remained a public figure, appearing often to read his fiction. He died in 1870, leaving his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. Part of the Whole Story series, this packed volume includes the full original text of Dickens' Christmas classic, first published in 1843. William Geldart provides amazing new illustrations, in watercolor-and-ink cross-hatching, that capture the shivery drama as well as the comedy of the timeless story. There are also tiny reproductions of period pictures, fully captioned, with fascinating historical and biographical notes about Dickens' own childhood and the social conditions of his time. The problem is it's all packed into 100 pages, with barely a sliver of white space; everything is crammed into the margins. This is clearly not for reading aloud, or for those new to the story; but older readers who know the tale and remember where they heard it will enjoy browsing through the parts they love and dipping into the wealth of historical and biographical connections. --Hazel Rochman


Publisher's Weekly Review

Few of the many interpretations of Dickens's holiday parable can match this handsome edition for atmosphere, mood and sheer elegance. Innocenti's full-page watercolors are striking, full-bodied evocations of 19th-century London, particularly the life and vigor of the city's streets: merchants sell their wares, urchins tumble and play, the gentry ride in their carriages, and the destitute huddle in doorways and keep warm at makeshift stoves. At the same time, the paintings' realism, dramatic intensity, occasional luminosity and almost microscopic observation of detail strongly recall the exquisite art of the Italian Renaissance. Their stateliness is carried through in the book's design: each page of text is boxed with fine sepia rules, overlaid with a delicate, gradually fading wash, and topped by a single, modest ornament. The effect suggests an old manuscript or parchment--one that, every so often, opens a splendid pictorial window on the world of this classic narrative. For all its elegance, however, this is a somber and unsentimental view of Dickens's world. The beautiful and the sordid, the good and the malevolent, are never far apart--a concept that is powerfully suggested through the frequent use of high, oddly angled perspectives, as if readers, along with Scrooge and the spirits, are privy to telling glimpses of life skimmed from above. All ages. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

This production offers a different take on Dickens's 1843 ghost story by featuring one woman as the narrator and the entire cast-considering the story's brevity, there's a fair number of characters and voices, ranging from that "tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge," on down to Tiny Tim and others. British actress Miriam Margolyes presents the story through a straight narration of the author's sublime poetic prose but puts more of an animated spin on his equally superb dialog. VERDICT Traditionalists may prefer a male rendition since nearly all the characters are men, but Margolyes does the yuletide standard justice, and a female voice may prove more accessible to girls who are being introduced to the story. Buy accordingly.-Mike Rogers, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5 Up-Over the years, Dickens's holiday classic has been embellished by some of the finest artists around. Michael Foreman, Trina Schart Hyman, Greg Hildebrandt, and Lisbeth Zwerger are just a few of the luminaries who have taken on the challenge originally set by Arthur Rackham in 1915. Joining the list is Lynch, whose watercolor-and-gouache illustrations lavishly enhance this handsome edition, which includes the complete text. Ranging from spot art to full spreads, with something to savor on almost every page, they offer a real flavor of Victorian England and make the most of the inherent drama of the story. The gold-embossed spine and thick, textured paper contribute to the appeal of the package.-Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

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. Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain. The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot--say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance--literally to astonish his son's weak mind. Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names: it was all the same to him. Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas. External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, nor wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often 'came down' handsomely, and Scrooge never did. Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, 'My dear Scrooge, how are you? when will you come to see me?' No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was 'oclock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blindmen's dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, 'no eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!' But what did Scrooge care? It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call 'nuts' to Scrooge. Once upon a time--of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve--old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside, go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement-stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already: it had not been light all day: and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale. The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn't replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed. Excerpted from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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