Dickens's Christmas Books - complete online versions

The Christmas Carol, The Chimes, Cricket On the Hearth, Battle Of Life
& The Haunted Man & the Ghosts's Bargain.

A Reprint Of The First Editions, With The Illustrations,
published By Macmillan And Co., Limited, New York, Circa 1898

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TThis little book, which shares with Pickwick and David Copperjield the distinction of being the most universally popular of all the works of Charles Dickens, was the result of a remarkably rapid feat of composition. In the early part of October, 1843, the idea of the story first occurred to its author, who was then on a visit to Manchester, and before the end of November it was finished, having been written in such spare moments as were not taken up by the two numbers of Martin Chuzzlewit which were in hand during those two months. Written at such high pressure it produced a wonderful effect on its author. " Over which Christmas Carol," he wrote to Professor Felton on the 2d of January, 1844, "Charles Dickens wept, and laughed, and wept again, and excited himself in a most extraordinary manner in the composition ; and thinking whereof he walked about the black streets of London, fifteen and twenty miles, many a night when all the sober folks had gone to bed. To keep the Chuzzlewit going, and to do this little book the Carol in the odd times between two parts of it was, as you may suppose, pretty tight work. But when it was done I broke out like a madman. And if you could have seen me at a children's party at Macready's the other night, going down a country-dance with Mrs. M., you would have thought I was a country gentleman of independent property residing on a tip-top farm, with the wind blowing straight in my face every day." Again, in a letter to Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer of two or three weeks' later date, he described himself as having been " so closely occupied with my little Carol (the idea of which had just occurred to me) that I never left home before the owls went out, and led quite a solitary life."