By Charles Dickens

ISBN-10: 0698170911

ISBN-13: 9780698170919

One of 5 loved Christmas classics
First released on December 19, 1843, A Christmas Carol used to be an speedy vintage: Londoners thronged to listen to Dickens learn it in individual and acquired out the 1st printing in days. Its reception was once so ecstatic that it really is credited with assisting to restore curiosity one of the Victorians in Christmas traditions, together with caroling and vacation playing cards, in addition to inciting an unforeseen wave of charitable giving from Britain’s business Age robber barons. Originally conceived as a pamphlet opposed to exploitative capitalism earlier than taking its present shape, it has encouraged dozens of theatrical and film adaptions, and its characters, from Scrooge to Tiny Tim, are ceaselessly inscribed in our hearts and minds.

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Example text

If Walter Scott, as Twain (half-seriously) asserted, ‘caused’ the Civil War by an overdose of romance administered to the American people, Abraham Lincoln took a different view. He was keen to shake the hand, the President said, of ‘the little woman who started a great war’. Whether or not Harriet Becher Stowe, rather than the Harper’s Ferry raid, was the ‘cause’, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) was indisputably the first bestseller to break entirely the Scott or Dickens mould in America (although echoes of Mrs Gaskell’s social problem novel, Mary Barton, are distantly heard – plantation slaves replacing Manchester wage slaves).

John Steinbeck echoes in The Grapes of Wrath (#1 novel in 1939). ‘What an accursed thing anti-Semitism is’, echoes Laura Z. Hobson in Gentleman’s Agreement (#1 novel in 1947; ‘a banned book, a number one title, 45 The American bestseller Stowe’s was also the first American novel to be a runaway bestseller in Britain, levelling up cross-Atlantic inequities a (very) little. The London publisher, George Smith, was gratified, on his journey to work, to perceive all six people in his first-class carriage reading his (pirated) edition of Stowe’s novel.

The novel-reader’s choice is dizzyingly extensive. Amazon’s new and used title catalogue grows weekly. With a couple of keystroke clicks and a number inscribed in plastic, the reader has a choice of some two million fiction titles, and more every year. There are so many novels that even if one dedicated one’s whole life to reading them, and doing little else, one would – novel in hand on one’s deathbed – only have scratched the surface of the fiction mountain. Why, then, are so many million citizens reading the one, or the top ten, or (in recent times) the top hundred novels at any one 25 The modern scene Stampede selling time?

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A Christmas Carol (Penguin Christmas Classics) by Charles Dickens

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