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A Christmas Carol Feed

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

It is that time of year again. The time when I trot over to my bookshelves, check the letter D and take down a copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  Please note I say A Copy not My copy. This is because I have multiple copies of this book and today have just added to them with yet another edition.

I love Dickens. Always have but I do know those who cannot get on with him at all - I freely admit I find this difficult to understand but hey ho.  Over the years I have read an awful lot about the man himself and, quite frankly, he sounds a tortured individual and not very nice, in Scrparticular in his treatment of his wife which I thought was appalling.  I really should not like him at all but somehow I find it hard to dislike someone who has created Mr Pickwick, the Fezziwigs, David Copperfield, Uriah Heep et al.  I feel that underneath all that non stop frenetic genius, there was a troubled individual. 

And this afternoon when reading A Christmas Carol for the umpteenth time I discovered passages that struck me anew as being simply wondrous, conjuring up wonderful pictures:

"The poulterers shops were still half open and the fruiterers were radiant in their glory; there were great round pot bellied baskets of chestnuts, shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen, lolling at the doors and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence. There were ruddy brown faced, broad girthed Spanish Onions, shining in the greatness of their growth like Spanish Friars, and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by and glanced demurely at the hung up mistletoe. There were pears and apples clustered high in blooming pyramids; there were bunches of grapes made in the shopkeepers benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks, that people's mouths might water gratis as they passed; there were piles of filberts, mossy and brown, recalling in their fragrance, ancient walks among the woods and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through withered leaves..."


Which edition to read today?

There is the one illustrated by Quentin Blake which I could not resist.

A superb edition of A Christmas Carol and other Stories by OUP, a wonderful hardback with the original illustrations.

A Christmas Carol, the Graphic Novel which reminds me of when, as a child, I had this kind of illustrated version of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and other classics.


Then an edition I came across at a jumble sale and which I paid about 50p.  Inside it is inscribed, written in ink "for our dear Gloria with loving Christmas wishes from the Aunties at Ealing Village" It does not have the date of the particular Christmas which is a shame but this particular copy, which has no ISBN number or publication date to give me a clue, is published by Raphael Tuck & Sons "publishers to their Majesties the King and Queen & to her Majesty Queen Alexandra" which means it is Edwardian. This link makes fascinating reading.  There is also a Wikipedia page about this company which was founded in 1866 and was granted the Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria. This copy has lovely illustrations and the title page is protected by a sheet of tissue paper, intact which is a miracle after all this time. I would love to know who once owned this and to reassure them that I am looking after it very carefully.

And finally, another edition which arrived just an hour ago from the Folio Society. I could not resist. I simply could not.  A glorious edition with illustrations by Michael Foreman which fit beautifully.  It was a pleasure to hold and read. They also sent me a free Folio diary which I thought was rather kind.....

Well you know how I am going to close this post don't you? Of course you do....

"...he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us and all of us. And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!


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