Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’

By | Dec 19, 2011

A Christmas Carol by English novelist Charles Dickens was first published on December 19, 1843. It had illustrations by John Leech.

The story is divided into Staves and not chapters. A stave, which is similar to a stanza, is found in music as a recurring pattern of meter and rhyme. Dickens felt this added humor as it relates to the title.

When Scrooge is visited on Christmas Eve by the ghost of his old partner and friend Jacob Marley, Marley’s ghost informs “Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell tolls one. … Expect the second on the next night at the same hour. The Third, upon the next night when the last stroke of Twelve has cease to vibrate.” In the end the three spirits visited him on one night.

A Christmas Carol has been adapted for nearly every form of entertainment including theatre, opera, film, radio and television. The first film version was made in 1901 called Scrooge. In 1908 Thomas Edison also produced a film version of the story.

Lionel Barrymore’s radio production of him playing Scrooge was so popular that plans were made for him to do a film version. However, before it was filmed he was confined to a wheelchair with crippling arthritis and the role was played by Reginald Owen.

One of the best acclaimed film version of A Christmas Carol starred Alastair Sim as Ebeneser Scrooge. The English produced film was released with the title Scrooge in England and A Christmas Carol in the United States. It however did not attain its stature until the 1970’s when it turned up each year on US TV. Prior to this the most popular version of the filmed story in the US was the 1938 version with Reginald Owen.


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