Today in History: A Christmas Carol Is Published

| December 19, 2018

A_Christmas_Carol_-_Mr._Fezziwig's_BallI HAVE endeavored in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shalt not out 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,
December, 1843
— Preface, A Christmas Carol

Many moons ago, perhaps even on December 19th, I had the good fortune of seeing the acclaimed solo production, A Christmas Carolstarring Patrick Stewart in the Eugene O’Neill Theater on Broadway. Stewart told the complete story, as he masterfully portrayed every single character in the novella using Dickens’ original text and very few props. The show was an enormous hit, not only in New York, but also in London — and one that topped my treasured experiences of dramatic Dickens, whether I was at school or in an amateur Chicago theater.

December 19th marks the 175th anniversary of the publication of Charles Dickens’, A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas (London: Chapman & Hall, 1843). This beloved work is about a miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who learns the true meaning of Christmas when three ghostly visitors review his past and foretell his future. It became a story cherished through the centuries, read religiously in the school curriculum, and also one particularly well adapted for stage. How The Ghost of an Idea grew into a staple for the holiday season is not too hard to fathom — look at the colorful characters, social context, and lessons learned — and we see more than ever how apt it is to reflect on the spirit of giving and selfless love that binds us deeply together, especially in December, but ultimately beyond. As Scrooge proclaims, “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning. And, in the spirit of Tiny Tim, God Bless Us, Every One!



  • Check out entries for A Christmas Carol and/or Charles Dickens in You’ll find book guides/lesson plans; book readings; related booklists; text complexity results; vocabulary list; author website, and more.



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