Dickens' Christmas

ISBN 13: 9780750915021

Dickens' Christmas

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Charles Dickens is credited by some with inventing the modern Christmas. That, of course, is far too simple, but there is no doubt that this giant among Victorian writers spotted his fellow countrymen's need for an annual national celebration and exploited it in spectacular fashion. Christmas was rarely acknowledged in print before "A Christmas Carol" was published in 1843, but the combination of the book's popularity and Victoria's accession to the throne a few years earlier changed for ever the public attitude to the festive season. Prince Albert famously introduced the Christmas tree and the Christmas card was invented in England in 1841. This text traces, through excerpts from Dickens and his contemporaries, the growth of seasonal celebrations during the 19th century. After "A Christmas Carol", Dickens came to see a "Christmas Book" as part of his frenetic working life, but the season is also featured time and time again in his novels - from the jollity of Dingley Dell in "The Pickwick Papers" to the Christmas Eve murder in the master's final story "The Mystery of Edwin Drood". As the century progressed, Christmas came increasingly to be seen as a family occasion, as well as a time whin the middle and upper classes would remember the needy, but there was also a tendency to look back nostalgically at a mythical golden past. Here are recollections of winter skating, the workhouse, contemporary festive feasts and the exchange of gifts, together with hints on cookery, party games and creating presents that give an insight into the ingenious Victorian mind. A picture of a time when Christmas was as new to adults as to children.

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