Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol Exhibit

December 18, 2018 – January 7, 2019
Central Library (Fourth Floor Lobby)

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was an English novelist and social commentator.  During his lifetime, the intense popularity of his works transformed him into a literary colossus.  As a child, he was forced to leave school to work in a factory after his father was sent to debtor’s prison in 1824.  His experiences there led him into a career in journalism and writing.  He ultimately produced 15 novels and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles which championed children’s labor rights, education and other social reforms.

Marley's Ghost

Marley’s Ghost

Dickens is widely known as the author of A Christmas Carol.  The story tells the tale of elderly misanthrope Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited in the night by the ghost of his former partner Jacob Marley, as well as the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.  Over the course of these visits, Scrooge is transformed from a mean-spirited miser to a kinder, more generous man.

Dickens produced this classic tale in a six-week marathon of writing which began in October and ended in time for publication in December 1843.  Debuting in print on December 19th, the first edition sold out before Christmas Eve.  Thirteen separate editions were produced by the end of 1844.  Since that date, the story has never been out of print and has been translated into many different languages including Afrikaans, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and Urdu.  Numerous stage plays, films, operas, and other adaptations have ensured the longevity of the story and Dickens’ fame.

This exhibition features a set of first editions of all five of Charles Dickens’ holiday tales: A Christmas Carol (1843), The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845), The Battle of Life (1846), and The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain (1848).

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