Friday, 25 December 2015

More Dickens

"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens.

I have been fascinated by Charles Dickens.  Such a brilliant writer, but also a scoundrel.  But let's leave his personal life for a moment.
"A Christmas Carol" was first published in 1843 and was an instant success.  It had only taken six weeks to write, but the story has lasted all these years and is still popular.
I had the opportunity of listening to a reading at a local church.  I was reminded that Dickens had presented public readings all over Britain, in Paris and in the United States.  He had very receptive audiences of up to three thousand people, who were enthralled.  I have read that he was very 'histrionic' in his readings- overly theatrical and dramatic.  Wouldn't that be fascinating to see?  His first public reading took three hours, but he reduced it to about 80 minutes.  That was about the time frame of the public reading that I attended.

Just think of all the movies and stage productions of this small novel.  The earliest movie that I can find was made in 1908 with Thomas Ricketts as Scrooge.  But perhaps you remember the 1951 version with Alastair Sim- or the 2009 version with Jim Carey?

I'm sure everyone knows the story of Scrooge refusing to donate to charity on Christmas Eve and being generally cranky about everything relating to Christmas.  His dead partner comes as a ghost and shows him, through three spirits- the past, present and future, what will happen if he does not change his ways.
A very simple plot with a profound moral.

The reading that I attended did not have a great attendance, and, of course, those present were mostly older.  But the readers did a great job and I was delighted to see that people are still interested in oral reading.

This book is worth reading every year!

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