A Christmas Carol (Enriched Classics Series)
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A Christmas Carol (Enriched Classics Series)

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by Charles Dickens, Kathleen Helal, Cynthia Brantley Johnson
     
 

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Enriched Classics offer readers accessible editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and commentary. Each book includes educational tools alongside the text, enabling students and readers alike to gain a deeper and more developed understanding of the writer and their work.

In this classic, heart-warming tale, four ghostly guests teach

Overview

Enriched Classics offer readers accessible editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and commentary. Each book includes educational tools alongside the text, enabling students and readers alike to gain a deeper and more developed understanding of the writer and their work.

In this classic, heart-warming tale, four ghostly guests teach valuable lessons to an old miser. Ebenezer Scrooge, a selfish, crotchety skinflint, spends his days counting money and grousing, “Bah Humbug!” Scrooge doesn’t care for anyone other than himself. However, on Christmas Eve, he is visited by his partner Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, who teach him about benevolence, charity, and goodwill.

Enriched Classics enhance your engagement by introducing and explaining the historical and cultural significance of the work, the author’s personal history, and what impact this book had on subsequent scholarship. Each book includes discussion questions that help clarify and reinforce major themes and reading recommendations for further research.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Entertainment Weekly A low tech audio Christmas card: no sound effects, no gimmicks, just one of the the great voices of the contemporary classical stage creating as vivid a cast of characters as Dickens imagines. The Royal Shakespeare Company veteran...doesn't so much read the story as inhabit it with infectious delight.

Newsweek Reciting the litany of Scrooge's scrooginess, Stewart relishes the emotional gamut of meanness...Humbug seldom sounds so good.

The Washington Post Not only is Patrick Stewart wonderful, but this is surely one of the best performances of A Christmas Carol ever recorded...By sheer energy and dramatic skill, Stewart invests this story with not merely life, but freshness, excitement and wonder.

Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
Here the Christmas story that we all love is presented in its original language with artwork that captures the period and its ghostly theme. The beautiful language is once again a joy to read. Marley's Ghost warns: "Oh! . . . Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness." Unusual words of the period such as, negus, Cold Boiled, or bedight, may be looked up or understood in the context. The watercolor and gauche illustrations with smoky spirits and pages tinted with wash draw us into the surreal spirit world. The snowy village with hovering ghosts on the book jacket and the greenish moire book cover with the door knocker of Marley's head, immediately set the tone. This is a jewel of a book for Christmas giving and family enjoyment.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416534785
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
10/09/2007
Series:
Enriched Classics Series
Edition description:
Enriched Classic
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
292,280
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

A Christmas Carol:

The Spirit of Christmas

From "Bah! Humbug!" to "God bless us, every one," Dickens's holiday classic, its characters, and even their dialogue embody the spirit of Christmas. A Christmas Carol has become such a part of modern American and British culture that it would be difficult to find anyone unfamiliar with its story or with the characters of Tiny Tim and Scrooge. The Carol is practically a manual for Christmas, with its depictions of playing games, adorning rooms with festive decorations, and enjoying a turkey feast. Not only does the tale inform certain traditions but it is also a tradition in itself. Indeed, many people would not find their Christmas complete without watching performances of the Carol on stage, on television, or at the cinema.

Little did Dickens know when he finished A Christmas Carol after just six weeks of feverish writing that this brief story would become one of his most famous works. Though the story was successful as soon as it was published on December 19, 1843, Dickens bolstered its renown further by choosing to perform it aloud when he began touring in 1853. His name became synonymous with Christmas in England to the extent that, after his death in 1870, some feared the holiday would become culturally obsolete. Nothing could have been further from the truth — the story itself spawned an endless parade of adaptations and interpretations, from musicals to cartoons to comedies, and the holiday it celebrates has never been more popular.

Charles Dickens is perhaps best remembered for his efforts to draw attention to the plight of the poor at the dawn of the modern era. His Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, two masterpieces of English literature, led to the coinage of a new word, Dickensian, to describe something particularly harsh, bleak, or wretched. But as large as that literary legacy may be, Dickens is most beloved for this book, his gift to the poor and affluent alike: a template for a warm, loving, charitable, and thankful family holiday.

The Life and Work of Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was one of the nineteenth century's most prolific and respected novelists. The second child of John Dickens and Elizabeth Barrow, he was born February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England. When he was five years old, the family moved to Chatham on the southern coast of England, where they would spend the next six years. In 1823, the Dickens family moved again, to London. When Charles was twelve, his father was imprisoned for debt, remaining incarcerated for three months. During that time, Charles's family lived in debtors' prison with his father, leaving Charles largely on his own. He worked at Warren's Blacking factory, gluing labels to bottles of shoe polish, finding himself very poor and often hungry. Young Charles was tormented by the thought that his parents had abandoned him to this hard life. Dickens's time as a child laborer left a permanent, traumatic impression on him; he did not discuss this ordeal publicly, but it surfaced in his fiction. His sympathetic descriptions of Tiny Tim and of Scrooge as a boy spurned by his father in A Christmas Carol reveal his deep compassion for poor, abandoned, or neglected children.

Dickens attended school at the Wellington House Academy in London until he was fifteen, but primarily he educated himself at the library of the British Museum in London. Before becoming a writer he worked as a law clerk, a shorthand reporter, and a news reporter; his fictional writing drew extensively from these experiences. His first published novel, The Pickwick Papers (serialized starting in 1836), a lighthearted and popular work, established the young writer's reputation and raised readers' expectations. He went on to serialize what would become some of his lengthier novels: Oliver Twist (1837), Nicholas Nickleby (1838), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840), and Barnaby Rudge (1841). In 1842, he traveled with his wife, Catherine, to America, where he enjoyed immense popularity. He wrote a partially critical account of his observations on his trip, American Notes for General Circulation (1842), which offended many readers and critics, who became defensive about their country.

When a report exposing exploitive child labor practices in England was released in 1842, Dickens made a special trip to Cornwall, where he could see for himself the horrible environment child mine workers endured. His wealthy friend and philanthropist Baroness Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts requested his opinion of her sponsoring the Ragged Schools of Field Lane, Holborn — free schools for the poor — so he visited them and wrote to her, "I have very seldom seen...anything so shocking as the dire neglect of soul and body exhibited in these children." His sympathy for the poor and outrage at public indifference toward poor children inspired him to write A Christmas Carol in Prose, which he published at his own expense on December 19, 1843. It became so popular that he followed with other Christmas stories such as The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845), The Battle of Life (1846), and The Haunted Man (1848).

Dickens would next write his most autobiographical novel, David Copperfield (starting in 1849). With the publication of Bleak House (1852), he entered what many call his "late period," writing a series of darkly pessimistic novels such as Little Dorrit (1857) and what would become his most popular novel, Great Expectations (1860). In 1858, just as he was separating from Catherine, he began an extensive tour of public readings in London and would eventually travel to Paris, Scotland, Ireland, and America for appearances and readings. His health declined seriously in the next decade, partly as a result of his busy work schedule. In 1870, he collapsed during a public reading in England, just after an American lecture tour. Dickens died from a stroke shortly thereafter. His last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was in serialization at the time and remained unfinished.

Historical and Literary Context of A Christmas Carol

Christmas in Victorian England

Just a few decades before A Christmas Carol was written, the celebration of Christmas in England had become almost obsolete. Christmas was once a lavishly celebrated holiday, with festivals that combined pagan customs and Christian symbolism in masques (a dramatic performance usually by actors in masks), plays, and other traditions. After Puritans took control of England during the seventeenth century, celebrations of Christmas were outlawed. The holiday was revived when the monarchy was restored in the eighteenth century, but it was not as elaborate as it had been in the past.

During the years leading up to the publication of A Christmas Carol in 1843, however, the holiday was enjoying a renaissance in England. Ten years earlier, William Sandys published Selection of Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern (1833), a collection of Christmas songs that would become extremely popular and incite a tradition of caroling in England. Thomas K. Hervey published a scholarly history of Christmas in The Book of Christmas three years later. Britain's young Queen Victoria married the German Prince Albert in 1840, who popularized many Christmas traditions of his native country, such as the Christmas tree, in his wife's homeland. In 1843, the same year A Christmas Carol was published, Sir Henry Cole commissioned the first Christmas card from John C. Horsley. It was a three-paneled drawing with a simple Christmas scene in which a family enjoys a dinner celebration in the center with the caption "A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year to you" with a small space for the name of the sender. Dickens's short novel would further promote and solidify these and other Christmas traditions in both English and American culture.

Poverty: The Poor Laws and the Workhouse

At the time of the publication of A Christmas Carol, England was still coming to terms with the Industrial Revolution. Technological innovations had shifted the basis of England's economy from agriculture to industry between 1750 and 1850. The development of steam power and a boom in the cotton textiles industry caused a population shift from rural to urban areas. New steam-powered railroads and ships broadened the market for England's output. Laborers were more at the mercy of their employers than ever before, and working conditions in factories, mines, and mills were often brutal. Children and adults alike commonly worked as much as sixteen hours a day, six days a week in dangerous conditions for very small wages. England went through particularly severe growing pains during the 1830s and 1840s. An economic depression in the early 1840s led to widespread unemployment and riots.

In 1834, the Poor Law Amendment Act completely overturned previous methods of aiding the poor that had been in place for over two centuries. Before the poor laws were amended, parishes were required to feed, clothe, or otherwise financially support the poor in what was called "outdoor relief." The poor laws replaced outdoor relief with mandatory rules that the poor who received aid must receive "indoor relief," and to live in workhouses, or government-run shelters provided in exchange for work. The conditions in these workhouses were so grim and at times so unbearable that some preferred to starve on the streets.

Dickens, having spent a few months in a workhouse with his family when his father was sent to one, fiercely opposed the practice. His fiction, essays, and letters often reflect this view. Clearly Dickens's critical attitudes about both the poor laws and the workhouse show transparently in the narrative, as does his belief that a person's wealth is not a reflection of his character.

Supplementary materials copyright © 2007 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Meet the Author

Charles Dickens (1821-1870) used his fiction to criticize the injustices of his time, especially the brutal treatment of the poor. He is also the author of Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations. He was born in Portsmouth, England.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 7, 1812
Date of Death:
June 18, 1870
Place of Birth:
Portsmouth, England
Place of Death:
Gad's Hill, Kent, England
Education:
Home-schooling; attended Dame School at Chatham briefly and Wellington

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A Christmas Carol 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 548 reviews.
Drake7137 More than 1 year ago
Do you celebrate Christmas? Well if you don't your on the same level as Scrooge the main character of A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens created a true masterpiece when he wrote A Christmas Carol, telling a story of a man who had to decide what is right to change his future. This fictitious story really gets the gears in your head turning. Scrooge is a very mean man in 1800s London. His business partner, Marley, dies at the very beginning of the story and later visits scrooge as a ghost. He tells Scrooge he will be visited by three ghosts. The Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. They take him through different parts of his life. All three have different personalities. Charles Dickens gives great details of the characters without telling you directly. Throughout the whole story Charles dickens keeps you wanting more of the story line and makes sense with the book. Overall it's a great book with sophisticated words, and I would recommend this book for all readers.
WearingPlaid More than 1 year ago
I read this book every year around the holidays and really enjoy it every time. I have seen many versions of the story such as Scrooge and a Christmas Carol in movies but nothing beats the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enhanced means : Intensify, increase, or further improve the quality, value or extent of. So by an enhanced book they probably mean that it has error-text, no huge spaces between paragraphs. Stuff like that. It just means that they fixed it up so that you can enjoy it more. By the way, this is an amazing book. You should get it. Hope that i was of assistance to you.
Bobaloo2u2 More than 1 year ago
It was a nice holiday story to finish out Christmas season. What was really nice was being able to listen to the audio and hear the story behind the story.
ClaireAnnette More than 1 year ago
I love this book and the style of writing (Charles Dickens did, after all, write this in the 19th century) Eerie...and I was surprised by the way it really made me feel chills! But this book isn't just about the ghosts, it has a great moral of the story with a nice ending!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this enchanced version, added more insight about the author. Enjoyed this classic book very much!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The audiobook mentioned was a selling point for me. It isn't a file, but a text internet address on the very last page of the ebook that the nook does not recognize as a hyperlink. Apparently this guy Sam Ngo went and found the free ebook with illustrations and also found a free audiobook file on an archive website somewhere and wrote out the file's internet address on the last page of the book and epub'd it. You would have to look up the file online from your computer, download the audiobook and physically hook up your nook to transfer the file from your computer to your nook. So why pay this guy 1.99? Just go out and find the free files yourself. Probably deleting this. Oh and you have to laugh when the guy says "money back guaranteed... just email us" and then he doesn't give you and email address.
Roger15 More than 1 year ago
Just in time for the Christmas Holiday. We really enjoyed it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great for everyone
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I give the book 3 starts because the story alone merits 5.  The two stars I took away are because, while the book may be leather-bound, it is soft cover.  Nothing in the description had alerted me to this.  I have built up a decent collection of B&N Leatherbound classics and this is the first time I have been displeased with the quality of one of the books. I would still recommend buying it, but know that this is not like most of the other leatherbound classics.
queenvalerie More than 1 year ago
For as often as I've seen the movies, I've never read the book and decided that this was the time to change that. A quick read, I only 200 pages on my Nook, but I was enthrall end with each word and quite surprised by how funny it was! Dickens isn't exactly famous for his sense of humor but the warmth, compassion and empathy that you really only see all in a rush at the end of te movie, has a chance to build slowly but surely in the book. Do yourself a favor - pick this one up and read it. I'm sure I'll read it again every Christmas season.
pooh28 More than 1 year ago
I love the story Christmas Carol and have it in every media you can get by everyone you can think of from the muppets to albert finney, but had never read the book so when I got my NOOK tablet for Christmas and so this I said it time to read the book or at least listen and I did both and it is still the most wonderful story at Christmas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best christmas book ever its a great classic book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Introduction by Hal Moroz is a Blessing! It not only brings this wonderful Christmas classic by Charles Dickens back to life, it reminds us of the reason for the season! I highly recommend it to every family that wants to live the Christmas Spirit not only on December 25th, but throughout the year!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you don't know about this book you should read it! It is full of christmas spirt and joy. Any kid or grown up will Love this book greatly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was okay but it was good over all. But it didn't really keep my atention at all, most of the time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a really good book and if you are not sure about the qaulity of the book then dont worry it is good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it wss a good book. I liked him being good instead of bad aka Ebenezer Scrooge.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Bah! Humbug!” Set in Victorian England, this classic Christmas tale of reclamation and redemption by Charles Dickens features Ebenezer Scrooge, a bitter, greedy old miser, who is visited by the specter of his dead partner, Jacob Marley. Dickens skillfully weaves the story of Scrooge’s life through the visits of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, and in the end we all learn that the true meaning of Christmas is love, joy, and brotherhood for our fellow man. Dickens is a masterful storyteller, and Christmas Carol is a masterful tale well worth the read. Rebecca E.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book Frightening, sadness, and calmness all at the same time. ;)
lani142 More than 1 year ago
Good classic read for the holidays. Love the linked chapter contexts in the front of the book.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Greatest Christmas story ever
Anonymous 5 months ago
It was good it was a nice book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AWESOME BUT THE MOVIE IS THE BEST PART!!!!!!!!!