A Christmas Carol (Enriched Classics Series)

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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 ...

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A Christmas Carol

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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.

Read with confidence.

A miser learns the true meaning of Christmas when three ghostly visitors review his past and foretell his future.

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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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416534785
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 10/9/2007
  • Series: Enriched Classics Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Enriched Classic
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 346,851
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Dickens

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.

Biography

Born on February 7, 1812, Charles Dickens was the second of eight children in a family burdened with financial troubles. Despite difficult early years, he became the most successful British writer of the Victorian age.

In 1824, young Charles was withdrawn from school and forced to work at a boot-blacking factory when his improvident father, accompanied by his mother and siblings, was sentenced to three months in a debtor's prison. Once they were released, Charles attended a private school for three years. The young man then became a solicitor's clerk, mastered shorthand, and before long was employed as a Parliamentary reporter. When he was in his early twenties, Dickens began to publish stories and sketches of London life in a variety of periodicals.

It was the publication of Pickwick Papers (1836-1837) that catapulted the twenty-five-year-old author to national renown. Dickens wrote with unequaled speed and often worked on several novels at a time, publishing them first in monthly installments and then as books. His early novels Oliver Twist (1837-1838), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-1841), and A Christmas Carol (1843) solidified his enormous, ongoing popularity. As Dickens matured, his social criticism became increasingly biting, his humor dark, and his view of poverty darker still. David Copperfield (1849-1850), Bleak House (1852-1853), Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1861), and Our Mutual Friend (1864-1865) are the great works of his masterful and prolific period.

In 1858 Dickens's twenty-three-year marriage to Catherine Hogarth dissolved when he fell in love with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. The last years of his life were filled with intense activity: writing, managing amateur theatricals, and undertaking several reading tours that reinforced the public's favorable view of his work but took an enormous toll on his health. Working feverishly to the last, Dickens collapsed and died on June 8, 1870, leaving The Mystery of Edwin Drood uncompleted.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of David Copperfield.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Charles John Huffam Dickens (full name) "Boz" (pen name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 7, 1812
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portsmouth, England
    1. Date of Death:
      June 18, 1870
    2. Place of Death:
      Gad's Hill, Kent, England

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.

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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

CHRONOLOGY OF CHARLES DICKENS'S LIFE AND WORK

HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF A Christmas Carol

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

PREFACE

STAVE ONE: MARLEY'S GHOST

STAVE TWO: THE FIRST OF THE THREE SPIRITS

STAVE THREE: THE SECOND OF THE THREE SPIRITS

STAVE FOUR: THE LAST OF THE SPIRITS

STAVE FIVE: THE END OF IT

NOTES

INTERPRETIVE NOTES

CRITICAL EXCERPTS

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

SUGGESTIONS FOR THE INTERESTED READER

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 932 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(652)

4 Star

(127)

3 Star

(49)

2 Star

(26)

1 Star

(78)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 933 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 15, 2010

    This is a great book and I would recommend it for all readers.

    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.

    34 out of 46 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2011

    To idk

    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.

    27 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Classic...

    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.

    22 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2012

    Enjoyable!

    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.

    10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2012

    love it

    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.

    5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Christmas carol

    Best christmas book ever its a great classic book

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    HIGHLY RECOMMEND! YOU SHOULD TOTALLY READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!

    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!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2011

    audiobook is not nook compatible

    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.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    I liked this a lot!

    I liked this a lot, especially the reading by his grandaughter.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2012

    Great Book

    Good classic read for the holidays. Love the linked chapter contexts in the front of the book.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 6, 2012

    An excellent Classic!!!

    Just in time for the Christmas Holiday. We really enjoyed it!!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    A great way to enjoy a classic

    Really enjoyed this enchanced version, added more insight about the author. Enjoyed this classic book very much!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2011

    A true classic

    Great for everyone

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

    I give the book 3 starts because the story alone merits 5.  The

    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.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Awesome

    First off, pizza and pokemon??? SERSOULY!!!!!!!!! This is for THE CHRISTMAS CAROL !!!!! NOT pizza or pokemon!!!!!!! SECOND OFF, I love the CHRISTMAS CAROL!!!!!!

    3 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    OMG!!! This book is so soooo awesome!

    Don't no Y some children think its boring with long sentences and hard words lol MayB they R like in Preschool or someplace .This is Gr8 story .

    Ps If you cant read this then go check out the Muppet versionon DVD lol gtg

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2014

    Grow up, you stupid children.

    This is a forum for reviewing books, not playing your immature kitty cat roll playing games.
    A Christmas Carol is one of the greatest works of literature ever written. If any of you are able to read beyond a second grade level, I highly suggest you read it. You might actually learn something.
    Otherwise, take your Cat Chow wannabe crap elsewhere. Those of us who actually read books are sick and tired of you.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    ¿Bah! Humbug!¿ Set in Victorian England, this classic Christmas

    “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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2013

    Terrible, nothing like the movie.

    Terrible, nothing like the movie.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    You only THINK you know this story!

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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