This reissued recording of Stewart's touted Broadway performance might prove to be the enduring interpretation of Dickens's beloved tale of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of past, present, and future who catalyze his transformation. In a production stripped of sound effects, Stewart's theatrical talents take center stage. Reading with a voice that it is at once commanding and fragile, he creates a Scrooge of unexpected complexity and pathos. A spare and dazzling listen that might be the best rendition of the classic since the 1951 Alistair Sim production. (Nov.)
A Christmas Carol has been made into so many films, plays, television shows, and even operas and graphic novels that it is sometimes difficult to remember that its purest form is the novel that Charles Dickens wrote in the early 1840s and published with the title "A Christmas Carol in Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas." The original is no mere literary antique; it displays its author's talent for rendering vivid character portraits even as he dispenses his modern sense of social justice. This Penguin Christmas Classic hardcover presents this classic in full trimmings as a low price.
From the Publisher
"Bryksenkova's illustrations add a dash of whimsy to the novella, but also serve to underscore the darkness inherent in the story.. Yet her art isn't all doom and gloom. Bryksenkova's pictures capture the delicate beauty of Christmastime with muted colors interrupted by pops of vivid reds and greens.. It isn't just Bryksenkova's illustrations that lend this version of A Christmas Carol its renewed charm. The use of the text-which alternates vastly in size--to highlight different portions of the story, such as the introduction of Ignorance and Want by the Ghost of Christmas Present, makes certain scenes even more impactful. In fact, the way the text and images intermingle is the best part of this version of A Christmas Carol." - Victorian Homes magazine
The Horn Book
“A smooth abridgment. The illustrations are rich and lush.”
A sure-fire tear-jerker. At one public reading by Dickens in Boston, there were 'so many pocket handkerchiefs it looked as if a snowstorm had gotten into the hall.
It has it all: a spooky ghost story, a heartwarming redemption, and a great plot with a satisfyingly ending.
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up—While there are several versions of the holiday favorite to choose from, those wishing for a solidly classic telling will be more than satisfied with this complete edition. Hans Christian Andersen Award winner Innocenti renders the ink illustration masterfully. Whether the scenes feature a crowded city street; the frightening conversation between Scrooge and the transparent, white-outlined ghost of Marley; or a merry gathering at Fezziwig's warehouse, the detailed, Dickensian atmosphere is perfectly captured. Perspective plays an effective role as well, as when Scrooge's small and solitary head is first seen through the window of his office. The final image also depicts Scrooge through a window, but from the inside looking out into a sunny green field, with Tiny Tim standing close to the man who has become a second father. VERDICT All in all, a handsome, worthy addition to holiday reading traditions.—Joanna Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library
Read an Excerpt
MARLEY was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.
The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot—say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance—literally to astonish his son's weak mind.
Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names: it was all the same to him.
Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.
External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, nor wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often 'came down' handsomely, and Scrooge never did.
Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, 'My dear Scrooge, how are you? when will you come to see me?' No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was 'oclock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blindmen's dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, 'no eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!'
But what did Scrooge care? It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call 'nuts' to Scrooge.
Once upon a time—of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve—old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside, go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement-stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already: it had not been light all day: and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale.
The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn't replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed.
From the Paperback edition.
What People are saying about this
From the Publisher
“This Penguin Christmas Classics edition is so pretty it could double as a holiday centerpiece!” —People
“For lit nerds and loved ones who are notoriously hard to shop for, you can’t go wrong with these festively bound classics. . . . Their size makes them perfectly stocking-stuffable.” —Entertainment Weekly, “The Must List”
“Leave it to the folks at Penguin—who gave us Gothed-out editions of horror classics for Halloween—to package these . . . slim Yuletide-themed volumes.” —Newsday, “Best Books to Give as Holiday Gifts”
“Remember how Christmas was celebrated before Black Friday with these 19th-century authors, in small uniform volumes wrapped in pretty jackets.” —USA Today, “Holiday Gift Books So Pretty, No Need to Wrap”
“Beautifully designed.” —The Washington Post