Charles Dickens was easily one of the most influential writers of the 19th century. Many of his beloved books continue to have a lasting impact through films, musicals, and plays. A Christmas Carol is without a doubt one of his most popular. It's acclaim hasn't wained a single bit from the time it was published in 1843 to the present day, and for many it's come to represent the very spirit (pun intended) of Christmas.
Ready for a little Dickensian holiday cheer? Read on for 5 fascinating facts you might not know about A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens!
1. A Christmas Carol was written in less then 2 months
Charles Dickens wanted to complete A Christmas Carol in time for the holiday season, so he started writing it in October 1843 and worked obsessively for 6 weeks. The intensity of the project took its toll, and Dickens found himself completely drained by the end of it. However, when the book was released on December 17, it sold out in 3 days, so it seems all that hard work was worth it!
2. It was the first work he read out loud
Readings seem to be a common part of the lives of published authors these days, but back in the 1800s this wasn't the case. Charles Dickens was not only one of the first famous authors to do readings, but A Christmas Carol was the first of his works that he read aloud to an audience!
3. Charles Dickens had a strange custom on reading days
Apparently Dickens needed a little liquid courage on days when he had to read out loud to rapt audiences. He was rumored to start off the day with a few tablespoons of rum at breakfast, sip on champagne at tea time, and knock back some sherry right before taking the stage.
4. A Christmas Carol wasn't Dickens' first ghostly Christmas story
Dickens actually took quite a bit of inspiration from a tale he wrote as part of The Pickwick Papers. Many of the themes present in this story also make an appearance in A Christmas Carol. Both feature supernatural creatures, a focus on poverty, have a Christmas Eve setting and, most importantly, tell the story of a miserly villain who turns over a new leaf at the end.
5. A Christmas Carol may have contributed to Dickens' early death
A Christmas Carol was so incredibly popular, that after it was published Dickens embarked on a series of rigorous readings for many years. Due to failing health, the writer eventually decided to retire from public performances. Just as A Christmas Carol was the first book he read to an audience, it also turned out to be his last. He gave his final reading of the beloved novel in March of 1870.
Get your holiday fix with our seasonal A Christmas Carol print made using the entire text from Charles Dickens' book.
If you'd like to catch a live show, The Old Vic is offering live streaming performances of the play starting December 11!