Christmas Carol, The Chimes & The Cricket on the Hearth (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and The Cricket on the Hearth, by Charles Dickens, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned ...
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A Christmas Carol, The Chimes & The Cricket on the Hearth (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and The Cricket on the Hearth, by Charles Dickens, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

Generations of readers have been enchanted by Dickens’s A Christmas Carol—the most cheerful ghost story ever written, and the unforgettable tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s moral regeneration. Written in just a few weeks, A Christmas Carol famously recounts the plight of Bob Cratchit, whose family finds joy even in poverty, and the transformation of his miserly boss Scrooge as he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.

From Scrooge’s “Bah!” and “Humbug!” to Tiny Tim’s “God bless us every one!” A Christmas Carol shines with warmth, decency, kindness, humility, and the value of the holidays. But beneath its sentimental surface, A Christmas Carol offers another of Dickens’s sharply critical portraits of a brutal society, and an inspiring celebration of the possibility of spiritual, psychological, and social change.

This new volume collects Dickens’s three most renowned “Christmas Books,” including The Chimes, a New Year’s tale, and The Cricket on the Hearth, whose eponymous creature remains silent during sorrow and chirps amid happiness.

Katharine Kroeber Wiley, the daughter of a scholar and a sculptor, has a degree in English Literature from Occidental College. Her work has appeared in Boundary Two and the recent book, Lore of the Dolphin. She is currently working on a book on Victorian Christmas writings.

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  • A Christmas Carol
    A Christmas Carol  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

This brightly colored Barnes & Noble Classics brings together one Dickens holiday classic you know and two more that you should. No holiday is complete with Dickens and this inexpensively priced edition fills the bill quite festively.

The Barnes & Noble Review
That old chestnut? Yeah, I read it as kid...or saw the play, same thing. I'll bet I could practically recite it word for word in my sleep. Why, just the other night it was on television...you remember, the one with Bill Murray? If this is your attitude when someone brings up Charles Dickens's devastating story of spiritual decay and desperate renewal, it's probably time to find yourself a copy of the original, just so you can truly recall what all the fuss was about in the first place. The famous plot is what we know perhaps too well, but take a moment to savor Dickens as a wizard of description and comparison, as much here as in Bleak House or Great Expectations. Here, as in The Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth, the body and its needs are often the source of inspiration: a caroler's nose is "gnawed and mumbled by the hungry cold as bones are gnawed by dogs," a fiddler tunes his instrument "like fifty stomach-aches," and Scrooge visits his future grave in a churchyard "choked up with too much burying; fat with repleted appetite." Of course, Dickens earned his reputation as a sentimentalist but backed up his tear-jerking craftsmanship with an implacable emotional appeal. Scrooge is no stage cariacature of a miser but a reflection of the human heart, just as important (and as worth saving from misery) as Tiny Tim. Darker and wiser than they're given credit for being, these tales are true gifts to readers, from an imagination that was nothing if not generous to a fault. --Bill Tipper
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593080334
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 4/1/2004
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 278,035
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Dickens
Katharine Kroeber Wiley, the daughter of a scholar and a sculptor, has a degree in English Literature from Occidental College. Her work has appeared in Boundary Two and the recent book, Lore of the Dolphin. She is currently working on a book on Victorian Christmas writings.

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

From Katherine Kroeber Wiley's Introduction to A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and The Cricket on the Hearth

"Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that." Thus begins Dickens's most famous and yet poorly understood work. It does not start with a description of Scrooge as a miser, but with death. All of Dickens's Christmas books revolve around death. Americans and Europeans of the twenty-first century are fairly sheltered from death—it seldom happens in our homes, for instance; we can bring people back from the brink of death in ways inconceivable to Victorians; we have powerful drugs to ease the pain of, say, cancer, and so forth. In Dickens's day, one could die from an infected cut; today we simply slap on some antibiotic ointment and feel confident we'll be all right. Death was very present and very haunting to the Victorians. Children and women were particularly vulnerable; we may find some of the sentiment over Tiny Tim cloying, but through him Dickens strove to present the special poignancy of the deaths of children.

Having started with Marley's death, and Scrooge's full knowledge and experience of it, Dickens goes on to say that Scrooge never painted over Marley's name on the warehouse door: "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." Dickens then presents Scrooge's miserliness, but he first presents Scrooge as so far astray he no longer even possesses a true sense of self. Scrooge is not a person, even to himself, but a business. It is that lack of self that leads to his miserliness and his alienation from humanity.

The theme of blindness or deliberate obtuseness, important in The Cricket on the Hearth and The Chimes, appears quite early in A Christmas Carol. Scrooge's nephew, in bursting in upon him, precipitates Scrooge's well-known contemptuous remarks upon Christmas. Upon the nephew's departure two "portly gentlemen" approach; they are setting up a fund to "buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth." Scrooge inquires of them as to the state of the prisons, workhouses, the treadmill, and the Poor Law. Prisons and workhouses alike were dreadful places, dank and dark, in which families could not live together but were divided up by gender and age. The treadmills, invented in 1818 originally were actual engines, designed to power mills that ground corn and the like; various laws dealing with the poor established the presence of treadmills in the workhouses. By Dickens's time, however, the treadmills were merely objects in which the poor could be simultaneously contained and worked into exhaustion; no product resulted but the further degradation of the workers. The Poor Law of 1834 divided the poor into the "deserving" and the "undeserving." The "help" provided to the deserving was scant indeed, more theory than fact, and it was almost impossible to prove one was deserving. The decision truly rested with people who sat on the boards of directors of workhouses or other persons living in comfort that was derived from profits expanded, in part, by paying out only very little to help those in need. Whatever its intention, the Poor Law provided a mere facade of welfare; in fact, it was a series of impossible obstacles.

The portly gentlemen point out to Scrooge that prisons and workhouses "scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body"—Dickens presumes that Christianity declares that all people are entitled to cheer of mind, not merely a life of subsistence-and that "many can't go there; and many would rather die."

"If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides—excuse me—I don't know that."

"But you might know it," observed the gentleman.

"It's not my business," Scrooge returned.

There it is, that claim to ignorance—only in this instance the illusion is punctured straight away by the two gentlemen who have made it their business to look about them and perceive the suffering of the world. Scrooge can only not know it by deliberate intent.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 185 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(71)

4 Star

(54)

3 Star

(27)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(23)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 187 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2010

    Problems with ebook version

    I downloaded this title to my Nook. It started off just fine but about 8 pages into A Christmas Carol there's an error and it seems like quite a few pages are missing. It was very confusing until I figured out that some pages were skipped, then it was just disappointing.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2007

    Who has the nerve to insult Dickens?

    Who could possibly think this book is bad?! Someone who doesn't like to read more than five-letter words, obviously. For you 'avid readers' who read more than smut, this classic book is a gem. Beautiful story, BEAUTIFULLY written. Worth much more than cliffnotes. Cliffnotes are the coward's way out of thinking.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a great collection. I love many of Charles Dickens' work

    This is a great collection. I love many of Charles Dickens' works and this is quite heavenly, I must admit. I am not fond of Dickens' sexists attitudes and his ideal of femininity in a blonde, blue eyed, fair skinned, naive young woman who is always struggling and sacrificing her life for those around her; whether it be father, husband and or lover or children. Dickens believes that women must devote their entire lives and personalities to their families and families only. That is the only saving merit of women according to Dickens.

    However, Dickens writes beautifully. It's difficult and requires a refined taste in literature to appreciate Dickens' work. Dickens wrote in another time where grammar, syntax and diction of his characters varied greatly. The idea of novel itself was new and later in his life began to settle down. His morals, themes, flaws and characters closely follow the values held in Victorian era by all and the fall backs along with the negatives in that era are clearly demonstrated in numerous ways.

    Therefore many of the qualities that makes Dickens' work a classic makes it a difficult read for those in the 21st Century. However, Dickens is one of the fathers of the novel and his work must be closely read and attention must be paid into the details he provides within his stories. Dickens plots are layered upon layers and each character serves a purpose. Sometimes at the moment we might think what he is trying to do with a particular character, though later each proves that they had a significant role in furthering the plot and creating foils for the other characters. His plots are always filled with twists and ends usually in happiness for the persevering character, rewarded for his or her sacrifices after much toiling and difficulties. He always states the moral of the story, although not directly, leaving the reader with dramatic satisfaction and the aftermath of the climax is always explained, which usually leaves little room for questions in regards to plot. This particular set is great around the holidays as it spreads holiday cheer like the flu. Descriptions, and other elements of fiction are cleverly used and the dialogue is one that especially delightful. This is a highly recommended book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The only Dickens I've stuck with and really liked!

    I'll start this review by stating that I am NOT a Charles Dickens fan. I've tried several times and several stories to get into his work, and just haven't been able to enjoy his stories enough to finish even a single novel. Until I picked up A Christmas Carol right before Christmas. Even though I know every aspect of the story from movies and plays, I still couldn't put this short story down. It is superbly written and very clever. An extremely enjoyable and quick read. I have half a mind to make this a Christmas tradition and read it every year!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 24, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    great holiday reading...

    Rating: 4.5<BR/><BR/>A Christmas Carol is a wonderful ghost story that perfectly captures the spirit of Christmas. It's a fun read. I just loved watching that old humbug Scrooge squirming in his bedclothes as the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come enlighten him.<BR/><BR/>I thought The Chimes was pretty decent. It's another ghost story. Trotty has become disillusioned with society and specifically with the upper crust and he says of the poor, "There is no good in us. We are born bad!" This story has a very tragic ending that came as a surprise to me. Definitely worth a read.<BR/><BR/>The Cricket on the Hearth is a story about love and faithfulness. It was a little slow but good. It had a very happy ending to ring in the New Year.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2007

    Pretty good, except..`

    I did enjoy this book. Since the whole book had three smaller books inside it, i read in sequenitial order. A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and Finally, i didnt finish A Cricket on the Hearth. A Christmas carol was good. The chimes was very confusing, and the cricket on the hearth was confusing also.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2014

    To the begging of part two

    I forgot to fo next on mary poppins

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2014

    Moon

    She licked his ear gently. "You're not a monster little one." She purred.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2014

    Flamepaw

    "I-i am sorry I have been so mean. My father, Thornfang yelled and snapped at me all the time when I was a kit, so I guess that is why I have turned out to be a monster like him." He ducked his head."And...I...um..." Flamepaw looked away

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013

    Victoria

    Bye, Sammeh!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2013

    For modern readers, who may find Dickens¿ monumental masterpiece

    For modern readers, who may find Dickens’ monumental masterpieces – Bleak House and Great Expectations – difficult to digest, these three short novels (the best of the five Christmas stories) may be more accessible.  Although the moralistic and melodramatic plots, the stock characters, and the heavy sentimentality in these stories may not resonate with 21st Century readers, they do serve to remind us of the needs of an early Victorian mass audience which, lacking the palliatives of movies or TV, read such stories aloud for entertainment and pleasure.  To fault them on the superficial basis of modern expectations is to ignore the considerable artistry and craftsmanship Dickens lavished on them.  Modern writers in particular would also do well to observe the skill with which the author weaves his fantasy in each tale, to create a unique and coherent artistic world.  There is no living writer who, if given a summary of the characters and plot of these stories, could replicate their singular charm and literary effect.  That artistic vision belongs uniquely to Dickens; it is a treasure well worth our preservation and study.  Finally, these stories were intended for and read by Victorian children.  That modern children struggle mightily to read them, one hundred and fifty years later, is a sad and  unintended commentary on the devolution of contemporary education. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    A classic

    Always in season

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  • Posted December 27, 2010

    Nook Version Has Errors

    First let me explain that the one star rating is not for the content of the story but for the editorial mistake present in the nook version. The stories are amazing an show just how great of a writer Dickens was.

    About the nook version. In the first part of A Christmas Carol as Scrooge is talking to his Nephew there is a major error. The story cuts and a random story is introduced about a wife leaving her husband for a sailor. This was CONFUSING at first and i reread this particular part a few times trying to see the connection. It was not until i consulted another version of the story that I seen the problem.

    So if you picked this up for free like I did from one of B&N many Nook promotions it is great but if you paid for the nook version you have been riped off. Demand a better version that is not broken.

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  • Posted December 24, 2010

    Bad ebook transfer

    The book is abruptly interrupted by The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy on page 35. Not really much else you can say.

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  • Posted January 31, 2010

    Wanted to know

    I've seen so many movie and TV adaptations, each with its own spin on the story. I wanted to read the original to see how Charles Dickens intended it. A quick read. It could be read to children and become a family Christmas tradition.

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  • Posted January 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great story & lessons!

    Reading Charles Dickens in this version is being transported into a different era but lessons are timely for today! A Christmas Carol is definately a classic and The Chimes & The Cricket on the Hearth are interesting stories. I will definately read a Christmas Carol every year during the holiday season!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2010

    It's almost Christmas day and an unsocial, rude, and bah humbugging person doesn't see the meaning of Christmas. The name that haunts all. Ebenezer Scrooge.

    It's almost Christmas day and an unsocial, rude, and bah humbugging person doesn't see the meaning of Christmas. As he works in his bitterly cold office, people are struggling to get ready for the holiday. This man is named . Ebenezer Scrooge. To him, he shall not pay or give money to those in need because he refuses to pay on a day that is only once a year. Not caring if someone would die because it will just decrease the population and help everyone else out is what he thinks. He must change his ways before something awful could happen that would affect his life, or just might take it instead!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2006

    what a sad world we live in if we can't appreciate a truly magical,and outstanding story!

    I read A CHRISTMAS CAROL every year at Christmas. How can anyone rate it to be horrible?? Is it because we have become a society of, ' if it's not a video, it's not worth the time??' Anyway, anyone who is truly a reader and does want to be challenged, this book is worth 5 stars for an excellent story. I have read parts of the other stories, in this book,and A CHRISTMAS CAROL far outshines them, if you get the premise of the story, or want to. It is outstanding!!! I did a party/evening all based on this story,and no one complained, or felt it was a horrible story, by any means. Don't waste your time on any book if you can't handle being challenged,and entertained by truly reading something with depth. But if you are a 'true reader', as all people should be, you will not be disappointed by A CHRISTMAS CAROL. It's a wonderful Christmas story for those that have the 'creative mind, not to be bored'. You can be bored with anything if you want to be. A CHRISTMAS CAROL is not a boring story. Far from it!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2006

    This book was horrible

    This is by far the worst book I have ever read. I had to read it a few years ago for my English class and only finished it a few days after the test on it. Thank goodness for cliffnotes! I'm not normally the type of person to just use cliffnotes, but this book was just that boring

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2005

    Perfect Fun!

    I bought this book to read on a Christmas flight to Florida. Needless to say, my flight was delayed several times, but I hardly noticed because of this great book. The Christmas tales of Charles Dickens are true fun and, more importantly, 'lesson giving.' Great BOOK!

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