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The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain (Christmas Books)

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  385 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Everybody said so. Far be it from me to assert that what everybody says must be true. Everybody is, often, as likely to be wrong as right. In the general experience, everybody has been wrong so often, and it has taken, in most instances, such a weary while to find out how wrong, that the authority is proved to be fallible. Everybody may sometimes be right; "but _that's_ no ...more
Paperback, 120 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Wildside Press (first published 1848)
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Unfortunately this story was very difficult for me to digest.

Regarding its language, there is a lot of unnecessary repetition and it might be fun once or twice to let a husband and wife repeat the same sentences over and over again, but it gets dull soon.
I've read that Dickens got paid by word count, so that might be an explanation for the overabundance of repetition, but it really dragged the story down.

The plot itself is rather confuse and more often than not the author failed to paint a clean
The last of Dickens' Christmas books. About a man who allows a ghostly manifestation of himself to remove all his painful memories of sadness and loss, and then suffers an unintended consequence--losing the ability to sympathize with the sufferings of others. An early reviewer thought the story was somewhat incoherent, and I understand what he meant--the "gift" the ghost gives includes the proviso of inflicting the "gift" on others--so all the characters he meets similarly lose their painful mem ...more
Stephanie Blake
A Christmas Carol was the first of five Christmas books written by Charles Dickens. "The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain", a lesser known work, was the last of that series.

The Haunted Man, Professor Redlaw, is haunted by his sorrowful past. The only redeeming feature of his youth was a sister who died. The memories are continually brought before him by a Phantom who offers him relief. When he allowed the Spectre to cancel his remembrances, Redlaw made a surprising discovery. Not only did his
Thomas Johnson
Dickens crafts another dark yet hopeful Christmas tale here. Redlaw is a better developed and subtler character than Ebenezer Scrooge, and his visit with a spirit -- and the results of that visit -- are arguably more heartbreaking. Scrooge learned his lesson by looking in on those people he knew and watching their lives undetected. Redlaw only realizes his mistake once he has inflicted suffering on many more than just himself. There's a clear lesson to the story, but it's a little more interesti ...more
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Charles Dickens' last Christmas story is a vivid account of a man tormented by his past. With Michael Tudor-Barnes and John Moffatt.
The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain is the fifth of Dickens' Christmas stories with the old adage that if it is to good to be true, it is. When Professor Redlaw is presented an offer, by of course a phantom, to "forget the sorrow, wrong, and trouble you have cancel their remembrance." Well he naturally accepts and the story begins to play out all set about the Christmas season. After a series of trials and tribulations without the memories of sorrow to complete the man we get the ...more
This is a dark Christmas story, even by A Christmas Carol standards. It does include a great comedic element: the Tetterby family. They are a hoot. It's the third Dicken's Christmas story I've read and, no surprise, A Christmas Carol remains my favorite.

One of the things I like about Dicken's Christmas tales is he incorporates Christmas's darkside--when lonely people get lonelier, sad people get sadder, and selfish people get more selfish. Dicken's provides hope that such vice and folly can
Brian Cambra
I started out not liking this story very much. Indeed, it took me quite some time to get into it and at times it was confusing. However, the overall idea that our troubles and sorrows are truly beautiful things, that remind us of the joys that have been and may yet be, is a wonderful idea. Dickens does a remarkable job of putting our common thoughts on their heads.
Possibly due to too many annual Christmastide readings of A Christmas Carol this year i decided to read switch to one of hid other festive tales and I was glad I did. The main character "The Haunted Man" is darker and less flamboyant in his miserliness than Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. The writing is more succinct and most of the characters are drawn with less caricature pose than the Cratchits as an example. The theme is also more interesting "do we need our bad memories as well as our good me ...more
I read this back-to-back with Dickens's fourth Christmas book, and my expectations weren't high, as I found The Battle of Life to be probably the least accomplished book by Dickens that I'd read to date. However, The Haunted Man was a real surprise, and I'd rate it second of the Christmas books after A Christmas Carol, with which it has a lot in common. The comic supporting cast (the Tetterby family in particular) is very funny, but the real, albeit qualified success of this novella lies in the ...more
This short Christmas story is reminiscent of A Christmas Carol, in that a ghost appears and propels the main character into drastic changes with plenty of moral lessons along the way.
Dickens is extremely long-winded in this one, and at his finest with the long descriptions of everything. (Confession: I skimmed half of the descriptions.)

I loved the basic premise of the story- the sorrow and troubles in our lives teach us valuable lessons.
I laughed so hard at the Tetterby family, especially poor
David Bland
Dicken's wrote 5 Christmas Novellas. The most well known is "A Christmas Carol". "The Chimes" and "The Cricket on the Hearth" are also well known. "The Haunted Man" and "The Battle for Life" sold well, but are less well known today. The 3 I read prior to this one ("Carol", "Chimes", and "Cricket") seem cohesive, and generally follow characters that we meet early in the story. "Haunted Man" starts with "The Chemist" and his servants, and later abrubtly jumps to the Tetterby family. The jump was s ...more
Well, that was incredibly tedious.
May 05, 2015 Jason rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dickens fans, Christmas Spirit stuff
Recommended to Jason by: Dickens' Christmas Book
Shelves: christmas
Read in A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Classics.

4.5 stars, though the high rating is for personal reasons. It spoke to my heart. It stabbed right to the center of it because I could relate to the theme and it's moral. There were a few morals, but the main one for me was "don't be a wanton dick."

Often I deliberately turn my heart cold. I set it to stone, or iron even. It's more difficult nowadays, but sometimes I just don't want to feel. When one feels, he is subject to pain, and I don't a
I always 'do a Dickens' each winter, hoping to read them all before I shuffle off, and this is a good warm up to get my ear in before I begin Edwin Drood.

A novella, in the Christmas Carol mode, with a man haunted by a spectre who teaches him a life lesson. The poor chap's issue is somewhat more complex than Ebenezer Scrooge's. He is stewing on past hurts and has the choice of being relieved of the pain of those hurts on two conditions - that he is also loses the memories of the cause, and that h
Read this book in February and couldn't remember the story to do a review so I reread it while on holiday in a couple of days in December.
The story is basically a moral about appreciating the positive and happy times the more for remembering trouble & strife, and unhappy times.
The main character is not evil, just a normal person who is weighed down by sorrows of his past & as such seems generally disengaged with those around him. His goodness comes to the for when "the gift" he is given
Andrea McDowell
I read this as part of a Dickens Christmas Anthology rather than separately, but it's hard to review that way, so I'm going to cheat and claim to have read this version:

The Haunted Man is in many respects Dickens' most modern Christmas story. The main character is a respected and well-off scientist, kind enough, but obsessed with wrongs in his past that have made him permanently bitter. Why was I cursed with a life that began that way? he asks. Why can't I forget and move on? Why can't I find jo
Joy Finlayson
I found The Haunted Man a tough story to get into. Forty pages in, I was completely confused and so started at the beginning again. Thankfully my second attempt was more successful, however, as with The Chimes, it felt like an alternative Christmas Carol, albeit dystopian. The moral, once it came to it, was insightful; that we need the good and bad aspects of our lives in order to truly live and experience others. However the wordiness made the moral difficult to hone in on, especially if readin ...more
I just read this story for the third time. Of Dickens' five short stories for Christmas, I think this one's message is the most profound and the most overtly Christian. Its supernatural events are not as spectacular as "A Christmas Carol," but it makes a stronger statement: that remembrance is the source of gratitude, even painful remembrances, the purpose of which is not to regret or resent the past, but to forgive it. To forget without forgiving brings bitterness and misery, but with forgivene ...more
Elinor  Loredan
I don't know why this one isn't almost as famous as A Christmas Carol, because it is very profound, addressing the question of whether we would be better off if we could forget all of our sorrows and troubles. The story, in which that very thing happens to the hero, argues that we would not, but lose all of our softness compassion, and gratitude for good times, infused with Dickens' characteristic humor and pathos.
Ive just finished the fifth and final novella of Dickens Christmas series. I struggled with it even though I loved the characters within and it was a pleasure yet again of seeing life through the eyes of a giant in the art of observation. I'm definately going to read it again though next time I will do it in one sitting and try to pay more attention to what was troubling the character Redlaw concerning his sister and his old friend. I missed the cause of his grief till near the end so couldnt un ...more
Oct 06, 2014 Joyce marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Mentioned in the book Tolstoy and the purple chair. Sounded interesting.
Dec 02, 2014 Sophie marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I did not get along with this. I will hopefully try it again sometime. Ah well.
Thomas Crerar
Similar to a Christmas Carol. Perhaps my second favorite??
Yet another Dickens, where the main character, Redlaw is visited by a ghost and the experience changes his personality for the better. If only this would happen in real life!

This is a ghostly stories, from start - middle - ending, I'm guessing what the authors meant by the ghost. Even this include as a short-stories, Dickens can give such intensity on the story. Never-never liking short-stories, but with Dickens, you never know where you gonna end, even with 'twisted-story' is still interesting and cannot easly forgotten.

more about this stories, check on my review at here :
I had some struggles following this on my first reading, but did manage to get the gist, that a Christmas ghost offered a bitter professor the opportunity to live his life without his grievous memories. Humorous and kind characters people his life. He finds out that even troubled times serve a purpose in our lives. I will come back to review this again on my next reading.

I listened to this book as a free download from
Jason Reeser
I came across this novellette in my Kindle collection of Dickens. I had never heard of it before and was pleased to find it. It is the last of the 5 Christmas stories that Dickens wrote. It has similarities to A Christmas Carol. It has a great premise, though many readers might think it is too sentimetal, maybe too treacly. But I didn't. Take a few hours to read this forgotten Christmas treat.
Dickens could spin a frightening tale as well as anyone- think the spirits in A Christmas Carol. This is another of his Christmas stories, and also involves a spectre. The main character makes a request, and has to briefly live with the consequences, as well as its effects on those around him. The story is emotional and frightening without being over the top. The resolution is worth waiting for.
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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 Battle Of Life
A Tale of Two Cities Great Expectations A Christmas Carol Oliver Twist David Copperfield

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“Christmas is a time in which, of all times in the year, the memory of every remediable sorrow, wrong, and trouble in the world around us, should be active with us, not less than our own experiences, for all good.” 16 likes
“Everybody said so.

Far be it from me to assert that what everybody says must be true. Everybody is, often, as likely to be wrong as right. In the general experience, everybody has been wrong so often, and it has taken in most instances such a weary while to find out how wrong, that the authority is proved to be fallible. Everybody may sometimes be right; "but that's no rule," as the ghost of Giles Scroggins says in the ballad.”
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