Friday, 18 November 2011

My favourite book of all time..

What better book to feature on my very first Library page, than A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

It's that time of year when this old favourite comes out again. I have at least six different copies in all shapes and sizes and this one published by Dorling Kindersley in 1997, being illustrated and annotated gives so much information about life in Victorian London.
When Charles Dickens wrote his Christmas Carol in 1843 he had his 'social reformer' hat on. Few people knew London as well as Dickens. He had seen the overcrowding, the diseases and the poverty which were all widespread at that time. The themes of many of Dickens' novels were mostly aimed at making his readers understand how hard life was for the working poor, and how horrible it was for London's vast underclass of jobless, often homeless people. A Christmas Carol  was no different and he shows us a cross-section of London society from the very rich to the very poor. Dickens himself had endured a poverty stricken childhood and had worked in a filthy factory and it was these memories that haunted him for the rest of his life.

A Christmas Carol is the story of the miserly Scrooge and the apparition of three ghosts of Christmases past, present and future which were sent to make him see the error of his ways. The lessons learned by Scrooge and the moral of the story being that there is more to life than money - it's people and families that count and that we should all make the most of life and enjoy every minute.

The Preface written by Dickens in a very early edition of the book reads as follows:

I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.

Their faithful Friend and Servant,
December 1843

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