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La battaglia della vita (Christmas Books)

3.13 of 5 stars 3.13  ·  rating details  ·  329 ratings  ·  43 reviews
The Battle of Life: A Love Story is a novella by Charles Dickens, 1st published in 1846. It's the 4th of his five "Christmas Books", coming after The Cricket on the Hearth, followed by The Haunted Man & the Ghost's Bargain.
The setting is an English village that stands on the site of a historic battle. Some characters refer to the battle as a metaphor for the struggles
Paperback, 1, 100 pages
Published November 1st 1993 by Newton Compton (first published 1846)
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Opening lines:
Once upon a time, it matters little when, and in stalwart England, it matters little where, a fierce battle was fought. It was fought upon a long summer day when the waving grass was green. Many a wild flower formed by the Almighty Hand to be a perfumed goblet for the dew, felt its enamelled cup filled high with blood that day, and shrinking dropped. Many an insect deriving its delicate colour from harmless leaves and herbs, was stained anew that day by dying men, and marked its fr
May 05, 2015 Jason rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Romance
Recommended to Jason by: The Dickens Christmas Books
Shelves: christmas
Why do I continue to write reviews for everything I read when nobody reads the bloody things?

Emily Baldwin Homecoming photo EmilyBaldwinHomecoming.jpg
"Just because there's nobody there is no reason not to carry on the conversation."

Well, I suppose you're right, Miss Emily. Thank you. This was read in this compilation: A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Classics

This is not Dickens' best work. It's the fourth of his Christmas books, and doesn't live up to the expectations I set after reading the first three. It's considered a Christmas book because
Thom Swennes
Size is a question of perception. Published as a novella in 1846, The Battle of Life by Charles Dickens came into the world boasting a mere three chapters. One may think, after hearing this that such a short book could hardly be worth the paper and ink. The fact that the chapters are of hefty dimensions should hardly play a role. What should, however, influence a potential reader is quality. The three pregnant chapters of The Battle of Life are brimming with quality. Any author would be proud an ...more
Stephanie Martin
Meh. The beginning was so promising, but the end was lame. It made me ultimately dislike all the characters but Clemency the ding dong servant. She was the most fully sketched, agreeable character. The teary young misses were total bores.
I was not impressed early on in reading this and was on the way to giving this a 2 star rating. I did enjoy it about midway through and would definitely recommend it to Charles Dickens fans.
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This book wasn't terrible. There were absolutely beautiful passages and nice scenes; however, I would never recommend this book unless nothing else to read and you needed a few hours to kill. There were parts in the beginning when I wanted to stop reading, but it started to flow better and was then a quick read.
The least popular of Dickens' Christmas books, and justifiably so.
Memorable only as an unremarkable story by Dickens.
First sentence: "Once upon a time, it matters little when, and in stalwart England, it matters little where, a fierce battle was fought."

Last sentence: "I hardly know what weight to give to his authority."

After reading 'A Christmas Carol' and the disappointing 'A Christmas Tree' I wanted to stay a bit longer in the Christmas atmosphere, so I looked in my (extensive) e-book list to see if Dickens had some more stories set in this period of time. And of course he did. There were mentioned 5 so-cal
Mike Blaha
After Great Expectations this was a let down.. There was no "hook" to grab my attention. It felt like an accounting in a log rather than a gripping tale.. Only thing that saved it was my respect for Dickens and Mr Smiths interpretation ..
This is the last of the Dickens Christmas novels. It's not my favorite, but I think it had the simplest and most believable plot. Maybe a bit hard to believe someone could/would be as selfless as Marion, but a nice story nonetheless. And another one that's short (for Dickens)!
Thom Swennes
To have loved and lost it only to find love again; in someone else is the main theme of this novella by the master of characterizations, Charles Dickens. While I read this book I had to constantly remind myself that it wasn’t a work of Thomas Hardy. I am always happy to read Victorian love stories as they take such a round-about way of approaching the subject. This short story is generally grouped with Dickens’ Christmas stories but I have never considered it so and that this categorization is a ...more
Katherine L.
A novella by Dickens and I like reading minor works of authors. The book brought me in with the quintessential Dickens qualities, going into a scene with Dr. Jeddler, his two daughters, the intended of the younger one, odd servants, and two lawyers. Their outdoor luncheon was almost like a Mad Hatter scene. The hint that the younger daughter doesn't return her lover's exuberance is developed through other characters until she disappears. Dickens was economical in resolving all this, except for t ...more
Read as part of the entire works of Charles Dickens.
Managed to read this one quite quickly as it was a short story. It was also faster paced in the telling than Barnaby Rudge was which made it an altogether better tale. I can't decide if the story is lame or quite beautiful. Hmmm, I think the unselfish sacrifices of the sisters, one in particular, that the entire tale centres upon, is the beautiful part, the over dramatisation of it, is the lame part, but then perhaps the two go hand in hand....
Karen Chung
I downloaded the (very well done) Librivox audio reading of this work after skimming a few reviews of it on Goodreads. This is probably my least favorite Dickens so far. A convoluted plot full of confusion and contrived surprise. I found the first chapter really dull and hard to get through, and almost gave up, but fortunately things picked up in chapter two. On the whole, corny, maudlin, and peppered with baroque Dickensian prose, but if you want another view of Dickens, or to get through all h ...more
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After a little angst, Dickens delivers his happy ending and shows he is a romantic!
The fourth Dickens "Christmas book" that has very little to do with Christmas. They decorate the house with holly and mention that it is "near", but that is about it. 3 stars primarily for the very funny descriptions of the clumsy but loveable servant, Clemency Newcome, and the lawyers, Snitchey and Craggs. However, that may be generous. I felt its un-Dickens-like brevity was an act of mercy.
All the elements of a good Christmas Dickens' story except it doesn't really take place during Christmas, it is set in a small country village opposed to the usual urban London storyboard and there are no ghosts to haunt the pages. A nice story nonetheless.
Mike Jensen
The best of Dickens is sublime; the worst of Dickens is the worst of times. This book is miserable. It is one of his Christmas books (which are so called because they were released during the holidays; they did not always have holiday content), but it seems designed to bring down your spirits rather than bring them holiday cheer.
Every year around Christmastime, our book group reads one of Dickens' "Christmas" stories. I've enjoying learning about these lesser known ones. They are quirky gems.

I ended up reading this one on my computer, drawing a diagram of the characters, listening to a free recording of this story, while crocheting. It was cozy.
The Battle of Life by Charles Dickens is considered one of his five Christmas books. I have no idea why, since there's nothing to do with Christmas in the novella. In fact, there's really nothing to do with anything. I'd say there's a good reason this isn't one of Dickens' better-known stories.

read on phone

Sweet little story. Unexpected conclusion. Not the best Dickens, when comparing to Dickens, but really good compared to most everything else :0)

All in all, it's always good to spend time with my good friend, Charles.

This Dickens tale involves the lives of two sisters, their father and their love interests. There is an element of pathos, and good resolution of the plot. Dickens' attention to detail and picturesque descriptions are amazing.
The story takes place on the scene of a battle many generations before. It has only a handful of semi-interesting characters who live out a semi-interesting life. Noble theme of unselfish love.
The philosophical topic was interesting, but I didn't really get the sense of the rest. I listened to the audio version, probably it was not the best option for this book.
Carolyn Geason
Excellent little story! I had never heard of it before but ran across it while researching English, French, and American literature of the 1800's (ish).
Wayne Kearney
Ugh!! Even for Dickens this story was long, dreary and drug out.
And at the end I still find a single reason for the story or the title.
Complete garbage.
Jason Puryear
Review is compiled together with the other Christmas books
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  • The Frozen Deep (Hesperus Classics)
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  • The Duchess of Padua
  • Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages
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  • Mr. Harrison's Confessions
  • Sick Heart River (Sir Edward Leithen, #5)
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A prolific 19th Century author of short stories, plays, novellas, novels, fiction and non-fiction; during his lifetime Dickens became known the world over for his remarkable characters, his mastery of prose in the telling of their lives, and his depictions of the social classes, morals and values of his times. Some considered him the spokesman for the poor, for he definitely brought much awarenes ...more
More about Charles Dickens...

Other Books in the Series

Christmas Books (5 books)
  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Chimes
  • The Cricket on the Hearth
  • The Haunted Man
A Tale of Two Cities Great Expectations A Christmas Carol Oliver Twist David Copperfield

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“A kind and generous man by nature, he had stumbled, by chance, over that common Philosopher`s stone (much more easily discovered than the object of the alchemist`s researches), which sometimes trips up kind and generous men, and has the fatal property of turning gold to dross and every precious thing to poor account.” 3 likes
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