Book Review // A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings

My mum bought me this frankly stunning clothbound edition of A Christmas Carol for, well, Christmas, funnily enough. Although I'm fascinated with Victorian history, Oliver! is my favourite film (as well as A Muppet's Christmas Carol!) and I keep buying a tonne of Dickens books from the charity shop, I've actually hardly read any of the novelist's work. I originally read A Christmas Carol in school, and I've read Oliver Twist a couple of times, but I want to get more acquainted with him.

This edition features A Christmas Carol, obviously, as well as some of Dickens' short stories and essays based around a festive theme. As would be expected with an anthology like this, there are some very strong works as well as more forgettable pieces.
Christmas Festivities is a warming introduction to the collection, perfectly conjuring up the image of a traditional Dickensian Christmas, while The Story of the Goblins who Stole a Sexton is a darkly comic ghost tale. This is followed by the entirely forgettable Christmas Episode from Mr Humphrey's Clock before we come on to the great draw of the book: A Christmas Carol.

One of the things I love about Dickens is his approachable writing style. Although some of his expressions are rather antiquated, most is perfectly accessible for the modern reader which is probably down to the fact that he was a huge believer in allowing people from all economic backgrounds to read. His wit is well documented (the famous "more of gravy than of grave about you" line, for example) and his conversational, digressional tone is something that I remember well from my first reading 11 years ago.
Following from the classic story is the similar The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain, which I found difficult to connect with. Perhaps it's because much of the story was similar to A Christmas Carol, with the poor but jolly family and even the reappearance of Ignorance and Want. A Christmas Tree is an interesting essay since it was written just 9 years after the introduction of the item to England, and the following essay What Christmas is as We Grow Older poignantly compares the festive emotions of a child with those of an adult, emphasising Dickens' recurrent themes of Christmas charity and goodwill. 

Finally, the edition closes with The Seven Poor Travellers, which is a perfect way to close with a less-than-subtle approach to charitable themes. Dickens was well known for being a philanthropist, so this is a fitting end.

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  1. I bought myself this same book to read over Christmas (I adore these clothbound classics!), but I was so busy I only managed to get through A Christmas Carol by the time Christmas was over! I've read it a couple of times before, but I haven't read any of the other stories yet, though I probably won't give the book another shot until next Christmas. I'll just have to start reading it earlier this Christmas. :)

  2. I love traditional books like this - admittedly I'm not a big reader but things like this do appeal to me because it reminds me of my childhood

    Jade x

    Girl Up North | UK Lifestyle Blog

  3. I love clothbound books SO MUCH. They're beautiful, this one is gorgeous! Xx

  4. The cloth cover has such a classic design, pretty and beautiful. Apt for a classic book.


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