Home > 19th Century, British Literature, Classics, Dickens Charles > Merry Christmas ! Humbug, he said.

Merry Christmas ! Humbug, he said.

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.

 It’s easy to be in a Christmas mood with children opening the window of their advent calendar every morning and counting how many days are left until the d-day. So I decided to read A Christmas Carol. I’m not going to sum up this story, every body knows it. I wanted to see if what I had in mind was faithful to the text. Just to remember, it was written in 1843.

I had read Great Expectations and David Copperfield a long time ago. I remember I enjoyed both of them. To be honest, I was expecting something starchy and full of dutiful Christian sermons. Not at all.

Dickens’s style is really oral, you can imagine him telling this story by a fire, with voice effects and speaking with his hands. Here is Scrooge’s description:

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

I didn’t expect the fun either and I’m sure I missed tons of innuendos and play-on-words. 

‘You’re quite a powerful speaker, sir’ he added, turning to his nephew. “I wonder you don’t go into Parliament”

or when Scrooge meets Marley’s ghost:  

Scrooge had often heard it said that Marley had no bowels, but he had never believed it until now.

Of course, the way Scrooge changes his mind about Christmas and totally modifies his way of life isn’t realistic at all, but fairy-tales aren’t supposed to be realistic.

I’ve had a good time reading A Christmas Carol and it suits the season.

I wish you all a merry Christmas. Je vous souhaite un joyeux Noël.

PS: By the way, in French a turkey is a “she”. It was a bit disturbing to read this:

I was a Turkey! He never could have stood upon his legs, that bird. He would have snapped ’em short off in a minute, like sticks of sealing-wax.

  1. December 23, 2010 at 2:09 am

    This is another one of tbose coincidences as I just re-watched Scrooged–an updated version of A Christmas Carol.
    BTW, Bleak House is my favourite Dickens


    • December 23, 2010 at 9:20 am

      I wanted to take the children to the cinema to watch Scrooge when it was released but I thought it would be too frightening for my son. (he’s 6 and he’s a bit fearful). I’d like to see it, perhaps it’s available on VOD now. Is it good ?
      I’ll keep Bleak House in mind, thanks.

      Bonnes fêtes de Noël.


      • December 23, 2010 at 9:06 pm

        Sorry to say that I didn’t enjoy it as much this time around.


  2. December 23, 2010 at 7:27 am

    I had a similar experience when reading A Christmas Carol, it was not what I expected. It was far better… Dickens is very descriptive. I watched one or two of the older movies, might have to have a look at Scrooged. I have no favourite Dickens yet, haven’t read enough of him. Which did you prefer? I think I got Great Expectations.
    I wonder what kind of a person Dickens was. I watched the very excellent Desperate Romantics, the mini-series on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (did review it as well) and the way they portray Dickens is not flattering. He comes across as a real geek.
    I am sure children enhance the Christmas mood… Joyeuses fêtes.


    • December 23, 2010 at 9:26 am

      I don’t have a preference. I don’t know if I’d have the same response if I read them now, though.

      Is there any writer with whom you (I mean you in general) would have wanted to live? They all seem to have issues and to be difficult persons in their everyday life.

      Joyeuses fêtes à toi aussi.


  3. December 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I’ve never been a vast Dickens’ fan, he’s too prone to being maudlin. He has his moments though, I admit.

    Desperate Romantics was huge fun.

    And a merry Christmas to you too.


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