A Christmas Carol
First published on December 19th, 1843, A Christmas Carol was an instant classic upon its publication as Londoners thronged to hear Dickens read it in person and bought out the first printing in days. Its reception was so ecstatic it was credited with helping to re-interest the Victorians in Christmas traditions. The classic tale tells the story of hard hearted money lender Scrooge, who is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve, encouraging him to change his ways and embrace Christmas before it is too late.
CHARLES DICKENS was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation, but also the horror of the infamous debtors' prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and "slave" factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years' formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney's clerk and newspaper reporter until his "Sketches by Boz" (1836) and "The Pickwick Papers "(1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.