Saturday, 26 December 2009

Dickensian Christmases lesser known

Whatever his social messages, Charles Dickens was a solidly commercial writer, and followed up on the success 1 of the 1843 A Christmas Carol, he followed up with a series of titles with a similar mix of social campaigning and good cheer. As the Christmas Books page at David Perdue's Charles Dickens site says:

Although subsequent Christmas books sold well at the time of their initial release, they have not enjoyed the staying power of A Christmas Carol.

They were: The Chimes: a goblin story of some bells that rang an old year out and a new year in (1844); The Cricket on the Hearth: a fairy tale of home (1845); The Battle of Life: a love story (1846); and The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain (1848).  Dickens stopped the series at that point, but continued to produce shorter-format Christmas works for magazines: see Project Gutenberg for the collection Some Christmas Stories, which includes A Christmas tree, What Christmas is as we grow older, The poor relation's story, The child's story, The schoolboy's story and Nobody's story.

1. One should say qualified success; as Why A Christmas Carol was a flop for Dickens explains, it was popular and sold well, but his demanding requirements for the binding and artwork consumed most of the profits.

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