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On a Dickens Classic

By Jessica Schneider Dec 8, 2008, 17:20 GMT

On a Dickens Classic

As uplifting as the tale of Scrooge itself, this is the story of how one writer and one book revived the signal holiday of the Western world.Just before Christmas in 1843, a debt-ridden and dispirited Charles Dickens wrote a small book he hoped would keep his creditors at bay. His publisher turned it down, so Dickens used what little money he had to put out A Christmas Carol himself. He ...more

When one becomes a famous and dead enough writer, publishers can easily rely on new writers, like the author of this latest book, to write books on the dead and famous ones.

 The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits is the title by Les Standiford.

According to the NYT: “Scrooge and his edifying ghosts are so much a part of Christmas that the idea their creator might actually have “invented” the holiday as we know it is neither new nor original to Les Standiford.”

Publishers Weekly states: “But, says Standiford, this modern fable had a profound impact on Anglo-American culture and its author's career. If Dickens did not precisely invent Christmas, his ghost story created a new framework for celebrating it. Standiford (The Last Train to Paradise) covers an impressive amount of ground, from the theological underpinnings of Christmas to Dickens's rocky relations with America, evolving copyright laws and an explanation of how A Christmas Carol became responsible for the slaughter of more turkeys than geese in the months of November and December.”

Crown, 256 pages.

Read the NYT review here.



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