New Book Takes a Close Look at Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol

Posted on December 23, 2008

Historian Les Standiford's new book, The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits is being discussed a lot this month. That's not a surprise because this is the month we see dozens of versions of Dicken's classic, A Christmas Carol, on television and on DVD. There's even a Barbie version of the Dicken's story out this year. The topic is also a timely one as the recession makes things harder for many people and it makes Dicken's story and the idea of giving all the more potent.

The Boston Globe has an article discussing the new book and whether or not Charles Dickens really did invent Christmas. Dickens wrote the uplifting book during a very grim time period. He wrote it quickly in just six weeks. It was published in time for Christmas and quickly sold 6,000 copies.

The key to the inspiration for the story was Dickens' stroll through the city of Manchester in October 1843.

In the hours after his address, Standiford writes, Dickens "walked alone through the city's darkened streets," not only beginning to imagine what would become "A Christmas Carol," but also beginning "to take stock of himself" as a writer.

Dickens even gets credit for helping Christmas become the holiday it is today. The Christian Science Monitor says that in the book Standiford argues that before Dicken's wrote A Christmas Carol, Christmas was a "a relatively minor affair that ranked far below Easter, causing little more stir than Memorial Day or St. George's Day does today."

The Man Who Invented Christmas is available for purchase on Amazon.