A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas
Did Dickens invent Christmas? No, but he certainly deserves credit for rejuvenating celebrations surrounding the day. Indeed, he is the one writer strongly identified with Christmas – and its spirit. Within a six year period he wrote five Christmas books: A Christmas Carol (1843); The Chimes (1844); The Cricket on the Hearth (1845); The Battle of Life (1846); and The Haunted Man (1848). Issued ten days before Christmas 1843, A Christmas Carol sold 6000 copies in one day. Nevertheless, and at least initially, it was a commercial failure. It was also the first and last time that Dickens used a colour title-page. The story of selfishness and transformation has become a modern classic of Christmas literature, and is quintessentially Victorian Dickens.
[Title page and frontispiece, illustrations by John Leech, from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.]