A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

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Overview

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Wolfgang Lederer

One of the best-loved and most quoted stories of "the man who invented Christmas"-English writer Charles Dickens-A Christmas Carol debuted in 1843 and has touched millions of hearts since. Cruel miser Ebeneezer Scrooge has never met a shilling he doesn't like. . .and hardly a man he does. And he hates Christmas most of all. When Scrooge is visited by his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, he learns eternal lessons of charity, kindness, and goodwill. Experience a true Victorian Christmas!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780933861077
Publisher: Harold Berliner
Publication date: 09/28/1989
Series: Creative Editions Series
Pages: 118

About the Author

Charles Dickens was born in a little house in Landport, Portsea, England, on February 7, 1812. The second of eight children, he grew up in a family frequently beset by financial insecurity. At age eleven, Dickens was taken out of school and sent to work in London backing warehouse, where his job was to paste labels on bottles for six shillings a week. His father John Dickens, was a warmhearted but improvident man. When he was condemned the Marshela Prison for unpaid debts, he unwisely agreed that Charles should stay in lodgings and continue working while the rest of the family joined him in jail. This three-month separation caused Charles much pain; his experiences as a child alone in a huge city–cold, isolated with barely enough to eat–haunted him for the rest of his life.

When the family fortunes improved, Charles went back to school, after which he became an office boy, a freelance reporter and finally an author. With Pickwick Papers (1836-7) he achieved immediate fame; in a few years he was easily the post popular and respected writer of his time. It has been estimated that one out of every ten persons in Victorian England was a Dickens reader. Oliver Twist (1837), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-9) and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-41) were huge successes. Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-4) was less so, but Dickens followed it with his unforgettable, A Christmas Carol (1843), Bleak House (1852-3), Hard Times (1854) and Little Dorrit (1855-7) reveal his deepening concern for the injustices of British Society. A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1) and Our Mutual Friend (1864-5) complete his major works.

Dickens’s marriage to Catherine Hoggarth produced ten children but ended in separation in 1858. In that year he began a series of exhausting public readings; his health gradually declined. After putting in a full day’s work at his home at Gads Hill, Kent on June 8, 1870, Dickens suffered a stroke, and he died the following day.

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

Read an Excerpt

Stave One

Marley's Ghost

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.

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, his sole mourner.

Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name however. There it yet 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 He answered to both names. It was all the same to him.

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, was Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!

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 o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his fife 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, darkmaster!"

But what did Scrooge care!

Once upon a time — of all the good days in the year, upon a Christmas Eve-old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, bitMg foggy weather and the city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already.

The door of Scrooge's countinghouse was open that he might keel) his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal litde 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.

"A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!" cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation Scrooge had of his approach.

"Bah!" said Scrooge, "Humbug!"'

"Christmas a humbug, uncle! You don't mean that, I am sure."

"I do. Out upon merry Christmas. What's Christmas time to you buta time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a yearolder, and not an hour ri cher; a time for balanci ing your books and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented deadagainst you? If I had my will, every idiot who goes about with 'MerryChristmas,' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, andburied with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!"

"Uncle!"

"Nephew! Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it mine."

"Keep it! But you don't keep it."

"Let me leave it alone, then. Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!"

"There are many things from which I might have derived good, bywhich I have not profited, I dare say, Christmas among the rest. But I amsure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round-apart from the veneration due to its sacred origin, if anything belong' ingto it can be apart from that — as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitab1e, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of theyear, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-uphearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really werefellow-travellcrs to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound onother Journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

The clerk in the tank involuntarily applauded.

"Let me hear another sound from you," said Scrooge, "and you'll keep your Christmas by losing your situation. You're quite a powerful speaker, sir," he added, turning to his nephew. "I wonder you don't go into Parliament."

"Don't be angry, uncle. Come! Dine with us tomorrow."

Scrooge said that he would see him — yes, indeed he did. He went the whole length of the expression, and said that he would see him 'in that extremity first.

"But why?" cried Scrooge's nephew. "Why

"Why did you get married?"

"Because I fell in love."

"Because you fell in love!" growled Scrooge, as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a merry Christmas. "Good afternoon!"

"Nay, uncle, but you never came to see me before that happened. Why give it as a reason for not coming now?"

"Good afternoon."

"I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you; why cannot we be friends?"

"Good afternoon."

"I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute. We have never had any quarrel, to which I have been a party. But I have made the trial in homage to Christmas, and I'll keep my Christmas humour to the last. So A Merry Christmas, uncle!"

Table of Contents

Contents
Stave One: Marley's Ghost 3
Stave Two: The First of the Three Sprits 13
Stave Three: The Second of the Three Sprits 22
Stave Four: The Last of the Sprits 34
Stave Five: The End of It 42

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

EBOOK COMMENTARY

"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.'"  —Sunday Express

"It has it all: a spooky ghost story, a heartwarming redemption, and a great plot with a satisfyingly ending."  —Times

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for An Atlas of Impossible Longing includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

INTRODUCTION

In this reimagining of Charles Dickens’s classic, Great Expectations, Pip is an orphaned young werewolf living with his ill-tempered sister and her gentle husband, the blacksmith Joe Gargery. One fateful night, visiting his parents’ grave under the full moon, Pip encounters a frightening stranger—another werewolf and a convict no less. Too afraid to do anything other than obey the stranger’s instruction, Pip helps this convict and sets in motion of chain of events that will forever change the course of his life. Pip is sent to reside with Miss Havisham, a vampire who was sired and left on her wedding day by the one she loved. She has adopted Estella and raised her as a vampire slayer, to seek revenge on the supernatural creatures that she blames for her ruin. Pip, in awe of Estella’s beauty, falls instantly in love with her despite the fact that she has been trained to hate all “Scapegraces.” When an anonymous benefactor sends Pip to London to become a gentleman, he believes it is his chance to win Estella’s hand. The question that lies ahead is whether Pip will be able to overcome his wolfish ways and turn his once grave expectations for himself into great ones.

TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. In Pip’s world, the term “Scapegraces” is used to define “those of a supernatural sort” (p. 11). What do you think this term implies about the way that creatures like werewolves and vampires were viewed in this society?

2. On page 12, Pip wonders, “Was it a crime to merely be different?” While being a werewolf is simply a condition inherited at birth, vampires prey on the living to increase their population, and yet are “considered civilized and welcome to mix in society.” Is one creature more monstrous than the other? Do both werewolves and vampires have the capacity for good and evil?

3. After being invited to Miss Havisham’s and then later learning of his anonymous benefactor, Pip often feels ashamed of his roots, and of Joe’s commonness even more so than his own Scapegrace status. Yet Joe never seems to exhibit any embarrassment over Pip’s wolfishness. What does this say about each of their characters? What influences the focus of Pip’s shame?

4. When Mrs. Joe dies (the first time), Pip finds what he knows to be evidence of Magwitch’s crime, but he still does not accuse him. Why do you think Pip believes that Magwitch is innocent of this crime when the main piece of evidence points directly to him?

5. Throughout most of the story, Estella is cold-hearted and shows no affection for Pip despite his unwavering love for her. Why should he love someone who could possibly end up killing him in her crusade against Scapegraces? What makes him fall in love with her in the first place? Why do you think Pip continues to pursue someone who will never return his feelings?

6. Pip and Herbert have a very special friendship. Do you think this brotherly love grew out of the wolfish need to be part of a pack? Or something more human?

7. While Miss Havisham is herself a vampire, she has trained Estella in the ways of vampire slaying. Pip wonders “if Miss Havisham weren’t really wishing to be staked by Estella one day in raising her to such an art” (p. 235). Do you agree? Do you think Miss Havisham’s eventual outcome either supports or refutes this opinion? Why does Estella never stake her, if indeed her mission is to kill vampires?

8. Pip is horrified when he finds out the Magwitch has been his anonymous benefactor all along. Why do you think this revelation is so abhorrent to Pip, when he seems so willing to not only protect Magwitch and keep him safe, but to also protect his feelings by not revealing his disappointment?

9. On page 284, Pip explains to Miss Havisham that there are certain Scapegraces who “showed more humanity than the humans.” Discuss which of the Scapegraces behave with the utmost humanity, and which of the human characters exhibit what could be categorized as monstrous behavior?

10. How does the discovery of Estella’s parentage change things for Pip? Does it change your opinion of her?

11. Why is it so easy for Joe and Biddy to forgive Pip after he had neglected them for so many years? Should Joe have been angry that Pip spent so much time visiting Magwitch after he was captured, when he never kept up his visits to Joe like he had promised?

12. Though Estella is able to eventually see the goodness in werewolves, she never changes her opinion of vampires. Why do you think she can pardon and accept most Scapegraces and still seek vengeance against vampires?

ENHANCE YOUR BOOK CLUB

1. Grave Expectations is a reimagining of Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations. Have you read Great Expectations before? If so, how did the supernatural version compare to the classic? What remained the same in this new version of the story? What changed? If not, choose Great Expectations for your next book club pick.

2. Grave Expectations is a literary mash-up—where a fictional classic is retold in present day or with mythical substitutions. Examples include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or the movie Clueless, which was essentially Jane Austen’s Emma set in Beverly Hills during the 1990s. Try creating a literary mash-up of your own with your book club. Pick a favorite classic and retell the story as though it took place in the present day or with some supernatural characters. The more imaginative, the better!

3. Legends of werewolves and vampires have been carried down through the centuries. How does their depiction in this work compare with your preconceived notions of such supernatural creatures?

Customer Reviews

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A Christmas Carol (Prestwick House Literary Touchstone Press Series) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 444 reviews.
eittodcro More than 1 year ago
This classic is well presented in a very readable format. A good choice.
corinne_ewan More than 1 year ago
A wonderful, quick read during the holiday season. It's a great story that I will most likely come back to again. I seen so many adaptations in movies and plays, it was nice to finally read the original story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great christmas read for all ages. Im 16 and i loved it. There are some typos, but nothing that would make it difficult to understand. I definately would reccomened this book to a friend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The character Ebeneezer Scrooge has to be one of Dicken's famous characters. In his novella, Dickens portrays a man disappointed with himself and who regards the world with contempt. I always thought of the visits by the three spirits as therapy. Modern pyschology hadn't evolved in the 1840s and somehow Scrooge's breakthrough comes through as a recovered patient. I read that Dickens was a contemporary of Karl Marx and as Marx advocated social change to improve the conditions prevalent during that time, Dickens believed that change could come about by social awareness. Laws could be legislated because society felt compassion. The two children Ignorance and Want, who are hidden under the cloak of the Spirit of Christmas Present were not intended only for plot of the story but as a reminder for Dickens' readers. Are not the 21st century readers still having to think of that boy and girl today? The media presents us news of children in refugee camps,starving children, and homeless families. We are confronted with the reality of want during this time of joy.
missmattie More than 1 year ago
I have always loved this book and began a tradition of reading it to my children when they were young. The writing may not be the peak of Dickens's style but is still excellent. And the story never fails to move and entertain me. This year I read it on my new Nook -- and once again, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good, rousing and touching story and a well-written book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book! It was mysterious and funny! Great for all ages!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome! When my teacher read it to us for the hoiliday season! It was what I would say fantastic! I looooooovvvvvvvveeeeeeeeddddddd this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its such a good book! What a tridition
matsu More than 1 year ago
This version was crafted with nook's screen in mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BEST BOOK EVER
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can anyone lend me this book for school? I don't haveh any money to buy it. Thanks!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Classic - Must have!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What is that about?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GOOD BOOK!
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This book is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE IT
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good book.One of my favorite classics.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
..contrary to the description, with all the transcription errord that implies. Worth what it cost but still a little disappointing.