Mich Must Read's Reviews > Dickens and Christmas

Dickens and Christmas by Lucinda Hawksley
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review

really liked it
bookshelves: history, non-fiction

Dickens and Christmas looks at the cultural change of Christmas leading up to the publishing of Dickens’ Christmas stories and after.  It also gives a wonderful account of Dickens himself and how he saw the world.    

I love Christmas time, but I have never been a fan of Dickens.  I find his works dank and cold.  Which I don’t find appealing when reading fiction.  I will be honest. I grew up loving the 1938 version of the Christmas Carol (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1t_1r...) and Disney’s Christmas Carol. Both of course are neutered versions of Dickens work. This book has me doing a double take on Charles Dickens.  I had known that he had a bit of strife growing up, but had no idea to the depth and range of experiences he had at such a young age.  Not that his work is not still dank and cold to me, but now I see it more of a time capsule into the life and times of Dickens and those around him. This book elaborates on that, and in particular, looks at the theme of Christmas in many of his books.

The beginning chapters focus on Christmas in the past including pagan festivities and how they were re-purposed by the church. Traditions such as Christmas cakes, decorations and giving alms to the poor are put in context of the original celebrations of the Twelfth-Night celebrations, etc.  As the chapters go on, Dickens and his family are discussed in more detail.  Also, his internal struggle with watching the world around him struggle with poverty and the inability to affect change, which lead to his most famous work.  Each chapter has passages from his works as well as correspondence from Dickens himself and his contemporaries. All of which helps put the reader the frame of mind that Dickens was most likely in when composing his various works.

Dickens also seems to have help inspire a swelling of Christmas business in a time that old traditions were looking to be invigorated. Christmas cards, foods for feasts and just having the day off are all discussed here.

If you enjoy the Christmas holidays and history, regardless of whether or not you are religious, this is a wonderful book!   

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Dickens and Christmas.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

November 16, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
November 16, 2017 – Shelved
December 26, 2017 – Started Reading
December 27, 2017 – Shelved as: history
December 27, 2017 – Finished Reading
February 8, 2018 – Shelved as: non-fiction

No comments have been added yet.