Monday, December 4, 2017


Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol 1843 Mr. Fezziwig's Ball
Christmas would never be as memorable without revisiting the iconic holiday book, Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol."          It bespeaks of the author's condemnation of the individuals who failed to ameliorate human wretchedness when they had an opportunity to do so, a warning so applicable even today.
      Charles Dickens penned one of the most memorable, beloved holiday stories of all time and legions of people have read and re-read the book. Mixing real life inspirations with his vivid imagination he conjured up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the merry celebration we know today.  It never fails as a holiday classic and the treasure trove of the hand-written manuscript pages and other intriguing memorabilia from Dickens's lecture circuit provides a rare opportunity to view them all at The Morgan Library and Museum's exhibit, CHARLES DICKENS and THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS, which runs through January 14, 2018. (Image: Charles Dickens (1812-1870) A Christmas Carol, London, Chapman & Hall, 1843. Illustration by John Leech depicting Mr. Fezziwig's Ball. The Morgan Library & Museum) The exhibition explores the genesis, composition, publication and reception of A Christmas Carol and its impact on Charles Dickens's life. The manuscripts of four other Christmas books are also on display.
      Every holiday season, the Morgan displays Charles Dickens's original manuscript of
A Christmas Carol in Pierpont Morgan's historic library. It is interesting to note that Dickens wrote his iconic tale in a six-week flurry of activity beginning in October 1843 and ending in time for Christmas publication. I will not take time to recount the story here, except to say that as a young  girl, one of the most chilling in the entire ghost story is Marley's ghost that drifts "out upon the bleak, dark night."      
PUBLIC PROGRAMS at the Morgan include,  A Gallery Talk, "Charles Dickens and the Spirit of Christmas," given by Declan Kiely, Director of Exhibitions, and exhibition curator, on Friday, December 8 at 1pm.  Then, too, why not make it a day at the Morgan; the same day at 7pm and watch the film, A Christmas Carol (1951) The classic adaptation of Charles Dickens's beloved novel follows the stingy businessman Ebenezer Scrooge ( Alastair Sim) as he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future in Victorian England. Purchase tickets at 212.685-0008, ext. 560 or
Dickens acquired the kind of celebrity in sync with international movie stars today. That status made him the darling of the lecture circuit for he never read from his books he had memorized that passages he wished to dramatize, and indeed he did, with stand up
renditions as equal to the talents of a matinee idol.  Wherever he traveled he took his custom designed podium pictured herewith.
       The exhibition marks the 150th anniversary of Dickens's famous reading tour of the United States in 1867, and examines his later career as a performer. His public readings of A Christmas Carol, which began in 1850s, played a pioneering role in what is now commonplace in the marketing of fiction, the author's book signing. It is surprising to learn that among the unexpected and unintended consequences of the success, of A Christmas Carol, was Dickens's decision to devote enormous energies to his public readings.
      The first ever trade edition of Charles Dickens's "own and only"  of his classic and beloved story, contains a facsimile of the original manuscript of A Christmas Carol, published in full color, with a foreword by Colm Toibin and introduction by Morgan curator Declan Kiely. Now available in the Morgan Shop.
Three Plagiarisms of Dickens's work 
PLAGIARISMS of DICKENS'S WORK  Oh yes, there were several. Housed in the Charles Dickens's Museum, London England are a handful of Dickens plagiarism. Some issues copy Dickens's text nearly word for word changing only minor spellings in name or title, while other use Dickens's characters and setting as template for their own writing much as we see in today's fan fiction. An example of three of Dickens plagiarism in the Morgan collection include: "Mister Humfries' Clock," "Posthumous Papers of the Cadgers' Club" and the play "The Peregrinations of Pickwick." These impostors were sold through tobacconists and small shops to reach "a market of semi-literate readers outside the range of middle-class booksellers. The enormous readership spelled out great financial success for the authorsThomas Peckett Prest and Edward Lloyd Prest encouraging the pair to publish The Penny Pickwicks for an additional ten months after Dickens had finished his original Pickwick Papers.
TA TA DARLINGS!!! I shall be revisiting A Christmas Carol this holiday as indeed I am sure you will want to do so yourself. Wishing you Happy Holidays and best wishes for a Very Happy and Healthy New Year 2018. Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at and in the left hand column click on the link to women determined to succeed, visionary men, the fashion historian and poetry.

No comments:

Post a Comment