Saturday, December 25, 2021

Quote of the Day (A.N. Wilson, on How ‘A Christmas Carol’ ‘Invented the Modern Christmas’)

A Christmas Carol changed not only Dickens's life, but the Western world. It invented the modern Christmas. By February 1844 at least three theatrical productions based on the book were being performed in London alone. In the years that followed, he would publish further Christmas stories, including The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845) and The Battle of Life (1846). As far as he was concerned, Christmas had become the busiest time of year and one of the most lucrative—especially after 1853, when he had begun a series of public readings of A Christmas Carol. The Christmas edition of All the Year Round was something he spent six months planning. For it was always the Carol, of all his stories for Christmas, that captured the imagination of readers. Before the Carol was published, Christmas Day was not a public holiday in Britain. By 1846 the newspapers were reporting that ‘Experienced salesmen at Leadenhall-market state that the demand for Christmas geese this year exceeded that of any previous season, and that the establishment of clubs has, within the last few days, brought upwards of 20,000 geese into the market. In some parts of the metropolis, “plum pudding clubs” have been established.’”—English man of letters A.N. Wilson, The Mystery of Charles Dickens (2020)

The image accompanying this post is one of the original 1843 illustrations by the Victorian cartoonist John Leech (1817-1864) in A Christmas Carol—in this case, one of the happier memories of Ebenezer Scrooge’s youth: Mr. Fezziwig’s ball. It comes from this post from The Victorian Web. (Scanned image by Philip V. Allingham.)

No comments: