Julianne's Reviews > A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
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Jan 02, 09

bookshelves: fiction

One of the best Christmas stories of all time. Crazy to think that Dickens had to self-publish it because no publisher would take it--a fact I didn't know until this year (thank you, NPR). I also didn't know that Dickens composed "A Christmas Carol" at a rather distressed point in his life, mainly to make money, and over an extremely short period of time. Though the story shows signs of being "dashed off," I always wrongly attributed this to its being rushed by editors into serial publication--for the quick tempo of the narrative and the little curlicues and flourishes in the fiction ("I myself might have regarded a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade..." etc.) seem not so much the result of desperation as the overflow of a joyful, vivacious spirit in good circumstances. Perhaps Dickens, in writing "A Christmas Carol," felt free to lower his own personal authorial standards a bit, and the joyfulness of the work is a result of this easing of the usual self-imposed pressure to create high art and long, complex narrative. Or perhaps he simply knew that despite his current, pinched circumstances he was a good enough writer to cure them, and his joy comes from this confidence. Whatever the reason, this beautiful story communicates some true facet of Christmas which readers (if not editors) everywhere, of all ages, have obtained.
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