Talk:A Christmas Carol

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I feel there should be more about the book's critical reception. Cited quotes from a couple of newspaper reviews (via books if necessary) would improve things greatly. The same goes for the "Dickens' reading" section, which gives no source at all for its assertion that his reading was "a great success by his own account and that of newspapers of the time". And, if I may make a really daring point... just for once, some sort of "in popular culture" section might actually be justifiable! After all, "Scrooge" in particular has entered our culture as an archetype, albeit usually only of the unreformed miser. (I know the Ebenezer Scrooge article mentions this; it's just one example. However, the story's impact could be covered in much more depth than it is at the moment.) (talk) 23:52, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Regarding the suggestion for a "in popular culture" section; it isn't necessarily bad to have those sections in articles per WP:IPC. I think one needs to be careful (as the linked essay states) as far as sourcing and keeping on notable things on the list, but they are perfectly fine to have on Wikipedia. Be bold! ;-) Killiondude (talk) 02:57, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Goose, Turkey or Chicken[edit]

I Have read several versions of the play. Some say that the butcher's shop is stocked with the largest goose, while some others say it is a chicken. Is it truly a turkey, or is a goose or a chicken? I did not edit the article as i was not sure —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tca achintya (talkcontribs) 16:37, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

The only thing that matters ("some say") is what Dickens the author says, and here it is:

So a turkey it is. The poor Cratchits might have been able to afford in a normal year (as in the third stave when Scrooge sees the family's normal Christmas dinner) a small less expensive goose, but never a turkey, much less a prize one. This is a gift of unexpected munificence, the more so coming from Scrooge. Sensei48 (talk) 18:18, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Dickens paid for publishing?[edit]

The line in the opening of this article Although originally written under financial duress to help Dickens to pay off a debt, conflicts with this account that appeared in The New York Post, Dec 7, 2008, pg 30 that was part of a book review on the history of the story: His publisher, Chapman and Hall, expressed little enthusiasm for the book, so Dickens decided to have the firm bring it out 'for publication on his own account.' In contemporary terms, then, "A Christmas Carol" was to be an exercise in vanity publishing. Is it possible he would have paid for the book's publishing, seeing it as an investment to raise money to pay off a debt? 5Q5 (talk) 18:31, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Archive Location And Link[edit]

While archiving the previous discussions on "A Christmas Carol" may be a good idea, it seems to me that there should be a) a notification of the fact that prior discussions have been archived and b) a link to that archive on this Talk page.

Edits here tend to get rather heavy over the Christmas season, and it would be nice to have the previous discussions easily available as a reference, especially since many of the same issues regarding organization, content, and style tend to come up here time and time again. Sensei48 (talk) 00:42, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Heartily agree, especially since I am back now that it's Christmas time, and find that inaccuracies previously purged have crept back into the article; the same issues have been discussed previously, and I turned here to see if someone had found new citations leading to the change. The discussion I sought is completely gone, and with no link to the archive (assuming it was archived and not simply deleted) these same inaccuracies, posted by people relying on memory instead of the work itself, will continue to recur. (talk) 14:14, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Recurring inaccuracy[edit]

This passage was "debunked" last year, with inaccuracies corrected. Unfortunately the discussion that was on this page is now gone, and someone is altering the text to match their own faulty memory.

Scrooge returns home to his cheerless rooms in an otherwise deserted building, and a series of supernatural experiences begins. His painting appears to transform into Marley's face...there is a clanking of chains in the bed and on the floor, and the ghost of Marley passes through the closed door into the room...three spirits will visit him on successive hours that night, and they may help change him and save him from his fate. As Marley leaves, Scrooge gets a nightmare glimpse of the tormented spectres who drift unseen among the living, and now shattered, he falls into bed.

Scrooge's "otherwise deserted" building is an old town-house of which he is the only RESIDENTIAL tenant; he has let the rest of the building out as office space. Describing it as "otherwise deserted" suggests that he is the only one who uses it; it is "otherwise deserted" in truth because it is Christmas Eve and the tenant businesses have closed for the holiday. The DOOR KNOCKER turns into Marley's face; there is no mention in Dickens of a "painting" doing so. The clanking of chains accompany Marley's spectre, they seem to come initially from the "wine merchant's cellar", then the cellar door is heard to fling open, then the chains sound on the stairs, then Marley appears. There is no mention of the sound of the chains coming from the bed or the floor. Marley tells Scrooge that the spirits will appear ON THREE SUCCESSIVE NIGHTS, not on successive hours of the same night. It is precisely for this reason that Scrooge is so joyous when the passing boy in the street tells him it is Christmas Day, and Scrooge remarks that "I haven't missed it...the spirits have done it all in one night." Dickens suggests that Scrooge retires to bed after Marley's departure because he is exhausted from the foregoing, not because he is emotionally shattered. The pattern of Scrooge's response to the supernatural is that he ceases to believe in each spectre as soon as it is gone, although his remorse builds over time (as evidenced by involuntary tears and an insistence on pleading with the spirits, especially the final one). The emotional response grows with each visitation, he is neither altered nor "shattered" until much later. Dickens' words suggest entirely that Scrooge is simply worn out by Marley's manifestation. (talk) 14:35, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Excellent points here, lending support to a) the need to have the archived discussions visible or linked here (preferably visible) and b) a point I raised a year ago in one of those now-removed discussions - that some editors are basing their edits one one or another of the many filmed versions of the tale and not on the text itself. "Painting" indeed! If I knew the proper way to "un-archive" the discussions and return them to their proper place here I would do so immediately.Sensei48 (talk) 15:06, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
The article says twice that Scrooge "extinguishes" or "snuffs out" the spirit of Christmas past. This isn't exactly accurate. He tries to snuff it out but finds it impossible. Wrad (talk) 19:12, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

By the way, Stave III says the Ghost of Christmas Present dies. If it's a ghost it can't die because it's already dead. (talk) 19:58, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

We are discussing inaccuracies added to this article by people relying on memory or on knowledge of a film or TV adaptation rather than the original text. You seem to be criticising Dickens. That's not the point of a talk page. Besides, Dickens was using "ghost" in a broader sense to denote a non-physical being. The Holy Spirit was once commonly referred to as the "Holy Ghost"; at no time did that mean that the Holy Spirit was once human or alive and now dead. The three "ghosts" are not spectres of the dead, they are agents of Time/Nature/God. The Ghost of Christmas Present is a manifestation of the passing year and the growing of human spirit throughout the year, born on Boxing Day and destined to "die" (or reach an apex of sorts) on Christmas Day. The brothers he refers to are previous Ghosts of Christmas Present. (talk) 13:44, 30 March 2009 (UTC)


I am just letting people know that I am deleting the first line of this article with immediate effect. "Don't use Wikipedia. It is not a useful source. Anyone can edit valuable information". This is obvious vandalism and is making unnecessary accusations against this website. Bonzostar (talk) 21:45, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Meaning of Titile?[edit]

I have a version of the book with a letter from someone who was at Dickens's first public reading, and it says that Dickens originally wrote his book in four staves, and a footnote verifies that the fourth stave was later broken into two. This means the meaning behind the title can not be what is written. (talk) 01:55, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

This is not a GA review, however...[edit]

I suggest that the following points are addressed in advance of a GA review. Generally, a good copy-edit is required – examples:

  1. First sentence: "a book by English author Charles Dickens, that was first published..." – no comma before "that
  2. "19 December, 1843." – no comma after December, and no full stop after 1843 as the sentence continues after the footnote...
  3. ... and move that footnote to the end of the sentence.
  4. Why does Christmas need to be linked?
  5. "(a new literary genre created incidentally)" is poor, and there is nothing about this in the article. If it's important and relevant, find somewhere in the main body of the article and give a citation.
  6. "Completed in six weeks under financial duress to help pay off a debt, A Christmas Carol was initially to be written in his leisure moments while writing the more grave work Martin Chuzzlewit, but it soon claimed a place in the authors life that made its composition anything but a "leisure" task, he cried over it, he laughed over it, and friends who were with him during the closing months of 1843 have left their evidence of the power that story left over the novelist's thoughts and imagination". Multiple issues: (a) far too long a sentence, and certainly shouldn't be a comma after "task"; (b) "he cried over it, he laughed over it" is not encyclopaedic tone; (c) where in the body of the article is the information about Dickens laughing and crying over it? The lead is meant to be a summary of the article, not contain information not repeated below; (d) "authors" should be "author's"; (e) "was initially to be written" is not a good turn of phrase.
  7. In fact, the more I read it, the more I see points in the lead that aren't repeated in the article. The lead should be a summary of the article, and perhaps should be the last section to be written not the first. See WP:LEAD. In general, lead sections shouldn't need to be cited – if a citation is only being used once, in the lead, then it's probably a sign that the mix of information between lead and article is wrong.
  8. "First edition copies of A Christmas Carol, with Illustrations by John Leech; London: Chapman & Hall (1843) in exceptional condition, estimated to be anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 in value.[12]" This is not a sentence, since it lacks a verb. It is also a one-"sentence" paragraph, which should be avoided.
  9. "The book has been adapted in opera, films, radio and recordings." Unnecessary links to opera, film, radio and recording (a particular bad link) hide the one good link, to List of A Christmas Carol adaptations. Delink, reword, work into the article; if retained in the lead as well, avoid the one-sentence paragraph.
  10. Plot section - please get rid of the opening quotation, as it tramples all over the text in my browser (Firefox, so hardly an obscure one) and renders it unreadable.
  11. The plot section is far too long and unbalances the rest of the article. Wikipedia:How to write a plot summary might be useful reading.
  12. The characters section is just a list of names that have already been introduced and wikilinked in the plot summary; is it necessary? This might, however, be the place for some sourced commentary on the characters themselves.
  13. Explanation of the title - I have removed the reference to Wikitionary, since wikis are not reliable sources. If you want to rely on the OED, cite the OED directly. The article by Lothar Cerny looks to have some interesting material that has yet to be used.
  14. History of the manuscript - is a wikilink to "United States" really necessary?
  15. References – at present, there is a mixture of references and notes; consider splitting them into two (see Template:Reflist#Grouped_references for details.
  16. Some of the references have incomplete parameters; some have duplicates (you don't need to say that the publisher of the New York Times is the New York Times, for example)
  17. External links - do they all pass WP:EL? There seem to be rather a lot

This is by no means a complete list of things that I would expect a GA reviewer to pick up on, but it may be helpful. There must be much more written about the work from an academic view, and I suspect the article could use fleshing out with further sources. A quick search of JSTOR reveals:

  • "Spectacular Sympathy: Visuality and Ideology in Dickens's A Christmas Carol" (Audrey Jaffe) PMLA, Vol. 109, No. 2 (Mar., 1994), pp. 254-265 (Modern Language Association) link
  • "The Ceremony of Innocence: Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol" (Elliot L. Gilbert) PMLA, Vol. 90, No. 1 (Jan., 1975), pp. 22-31 (Modern Language Association) link

A look at Google Books / Google Scholar shows other possible resources. This article has a lot of potential, but could do with much more work. BencherliteTalk 23:47, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

While I agree with practically everything you mention and think that it's high time that these points were raised and addressed, there is a different problem with sourcing from OED and JSTOR. OED can and of course should be cited, but such a citation needs to come from the print edition because the online dictionary requires a subscription (and I believe a fee) and therefore is not accessible as a link from a Wiki article. The articles that you cite from JSTOR link only to the first pages; subscription and fee are also required to view the entire articles. The consequence is that a sourced reference to either OED or JSTOR cannot be linked sources in the ref section. The same problem will obtain if you go to PMLA, the source of the JSTOT articles - the source articles cannot be linked. I'm going to guess that it was the availability of Wikitionary that prompted its use - and the fact that the other sources cannot be linked to the article is not an insurmountable objection to using the articles as sources. It simply means that whoever wants to use them must a) have hard copies from which to quote accurately or b)online subscriptions to both. The unending list of frequently self-promotional adaptations also bears some examination. regards, Sensei48 (talk) 02:31, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm going to address these issues today night. Thanks, PmlineditorTalk 04:11, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Sensei148, please point me to the rule that says that references have to be freely-accessible online to be usable in an article. I think that you will search in vain, because there is no such rule. See the recent discussion on the talk page of this recently-promoted Featured Article. Numerous FAs use subscription-access references, or print versions of books / journals / newspapers with no online edition. See also Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange, where you can place requests for copies of articles from JSTOR. BencherliteTalk 07:10, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm going to assume good faith and presume that you read in haste what I wrote. I make no reference to a "rule" at all either directly or by implication. I am merely pointing out an issue of accessibility. Also, I am suggesting the use of print sources of the same kind of which I have made extensive use in articles I've edited. Sensei48 (talk) 07:30, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
We were talking at cross-purposes, then: when you wrote, "The consequence is that a sourced reference to either OED or JSTOR cannot be linked sources in the ref section", I thought you were saying that they couldn't be used for reference purposes. In fact, they can still be used as linked sources in the ref section, even as subscription-access links: many people have access to JSTOR / OED subscriptions through library / academic resources. BencherliteTalk 14:06, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. Cross purposes, indeed. I tend to use printed sources if there is an option in my edits, though the accessibility of online sources makes hem also quite attractive. Sensei48 (talk) 14:25, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

What about all the films that have been adapted from this story? I don't see any mention of them. Majorly talk 14:24, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

The link to this article - List of A Christmas Carol adaptations - has been temporarily removed because, I believe, an editor wants to clean it up. I think that the link will be re-introduced eventually. Sensei48 (talk) 14:38, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

GAN withdrawn[edit]

Sorry, I've decided to withdraw the GAN of this article. I see there are tons of problems with this and being busy with other articles, I can't give time to take this up to GA. Others, feel free to renominate and ask me for help if needed. Regards, Pmlineditor  14:28, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

Puritans, etc.[edit]

The Puritans in the US held sway in a small corner of the colonies for about 60 years and were gone as a political force by the early 18th century. Their banning of Christmas celebrations stretched from the 1660s to the 1690s. By the mid 18th century, much of what we now know as Christmas was celebrated throughout the colonies, especially in the mid-Atlantic and southern colonies where there was never any Puritan influence. Splendid Christmas dinners and Yule logs were the rule in new England and across America by the time of the Revolution when the Puritans were a distant and unpleasant memory.

Additionally and again in the US, the poem known as "The Night Before Christmas" which solidified a tradition around Santa Claus and a Christmas tree was published in 1823 and widely know in the US 20 years before "Christmas carol." Note that the poem includes St. Nick, presents, and a tree.

Britain also rejected the excesses of Puritan governance nearly 200 years before Dickens. The idea that Christmas was "somber" or "dying" is largely a modern invention of Dickens fans and the kind of lightweight USA Today type critics cited here. You won't find any support for this notion in any respectable literary history of England. Sensei48 (talk) 03:14, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Another Victorian reviving Christmas festivities was said to be the then young Queen Victoria and her German-born Prince Albert who married in February 1840. For instance, they popularized the Christmas Tree, a popular German tradition. I think Lady Elisabeth Longford's bio of Queen Elisabeth mentions this, but as I do not have the source in front of me, I'm just inserting this note in "discussion". Agreeing with the critic who posted just above this comment concerning "USA Today lite" scholarship...Even "A Christmas Carol" seems to refer to already existing past and present British Christmas customs...Lindisfarnelibrary (talk) 03:39, 11 December 2011 (UTC) Someone did add in a contribution of Prince Albert's...I merely added who he was "German-born husband of Queen Victoria". I was taught LITTLE history in my American schooling; thus I suspect many American readers also would not have known about Good Prince Albert! Lindisfarnelibrary (talk) 16:01, 14 December 2011 (UTC)


I've tried to eliminate some of the 'pop style' peacock phrases ("the greatest Christmas story", "the most popular Christmas book of all time", etc.). The article should read like an encyclopedic entry not a dustjacket blurb. I've reduced the number of images; there are simply too many. They give the page an eye-jarring zig zag appearance. One or two from the original edition are enough. Contemporary reviews and expert critiques from modern literary scholars should be entered in Reception and the "testimonials" such as the Thackeray comment and the bit about the costermonger's daughter cut. They are unencyclopedic. 808Starfire (talk) 04:12, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Pitching the book[edit]

It isn't necessary to continually add statements that read "the greatest book ever written", "for many, the essence of Christmas literature", "the most popular Christmas book of all time", or other glowing opinions of the book -- even if they are cited to a source. It's unenecyclopedic. WP is not "selling the book". The book can speak for itself and doesn't need "help" along the way. These sorts of statements belong on dustjackets and make it difficult to both edit and read this article. 808Starfire (talk) 21:17, 12 October 2009 (UTC)


Please cease and desist in the unwarranted, prankish, and childish reverts at this article. WP editing is about evolution, progress, and refinement not unlimited reversions to inferior editions of an article because one has "ownerships issues". Such behavior is bordering on harassment, stalking, and vandalism. I am giving serious consideration to reporting your behavior to the administration. Cease and desist. If you have issues with the progress of this article, please take those issues to the talk page before slamming your finger on the 'revert key'. 808Starfire (talk) 00:18, 13 October 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 808Starfire (talkcontribs)

Thomas J. Burns[edit]

Freelance writer TJ Burns wrote an article called "The Second Greatest Christmas Story Ever Told" that is widely available online. I'm wondering if we could refrain from citing it here as it has a pop "let's tell a story" style and tone about that is not scholarly, academic, or encyclopedic ("Dickens was walking down the street when he had a sudden inspiration. Why not write a Christmas story?! He rushed home, took quill pen in hand, and wrote the first immortal words of the greatest Christmas story ever written..."). If this article goes to GA or even FA, reviewers will ask "What makes Burns a reliable source?" Well, there's no good answer. Let's try to cite reliable sources before falling back on Burns. Thanks! 808Starfire (talk) 18:30, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

No. You don't fall back on this nonsense as WP:RS because it's not. The use of the Standiford material is also highly questionable and needs to be vetted further. The extravagant claim that this book somehow saved or popularized Christmas is stupefyingly ludicrous, a total fabrication contrary to fact. Only legitimately recognized academic sources from peer-reviewed publications should be acceptable for assertions of such magnitude. Sensei48 (talk) 14:56, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
It would be nice to get this point nailed down one way or the other. "Dickens 'the man who invented Christmas'" by Philip V. Allingham (Allingham's bio: [ ) suggests it's complicated, that particular kinds of Christmas celebrations were waning in England due to population movement in connection with the Industrial Revolution, and that Dickens was one of a number of writers sharing their nostalgia, and perhaps that Dicken's nostalgia was the most influential. Шизомби (talk) 21:53, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Number of Ghosts[edit]

I've changed the opening to say that Scrooge was visited by four ghosts (Jacob Marley and the three ghosts of Christmas). --Philip Stevens (talk) 11:48, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Themes section and possible FA nomination[edit]

Could someone develop the themes section? That's the least interesting section in any article for me and I don't want to do it. Can we have this article ready in a week or two for Christmas FA nomination? It can't go there without a themes section. 808Starfire (talk) 19:15, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

FA might be a bit ambitious. Should the goal be to aim for GA first? --Midnightdreary (talk) 17:36, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Right. I can't do it tho. I have a new job and I won't be spending much time here in the future. Good luck. 808Starfire (talk) 12:18, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm curious about what is meant about its secularity. By not focusing on Jesus, I suppose? It doesn't seem atheistic, though (not that secular=atheist, I realize). Also, is "the turkey and plum pudding aspects of the book" a figure of speech? I'm not sure what it means. Шизомби (talk) 04:27, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Adaptations section[edit]

The entire second paragraph needs citations. As it is, it appears to be OR. Claims such as "most remade", "most acclaimed", "oldest", "most recent" all need citations. In a year or two or three, "most recent" may need updating and perhaps the sentence should presently read, "In 2009, the most recent version was ...". The paragraph gives undue weight to film adaptations while neglecting musicals, operas, comic books, etc. and its inclusion here needs to be reconsidered. The paragraph might be best suited for the films section of the adaptations main article. Agree or disagree? Let's reach a consensus on this. I prefer moving it right now to the films section in the adaptations main article in order to rid this article of a paragraph that doesn't really belong here. LOC2010DC (talk) 09:29, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

History of the manuscript section[edit]

As an entire section in the body of the article, this material gives undue weight to a very minor aspect of the book. Wikipedia novel articles do not follow the various ownerships of or the prices paid for a particular manuscript. In Hearn's exhaustive, "The Annotated Christmas Carol", the information is relegated to a note at the bottom of the page - where it is found in this article. This section is redundant and could be merged with the note. The material actually makes a better note than an entire section unto itself. Agree or disagree? LOC2010DC (talk) 09:50, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Context section[edit]

I'm returning this section to the article after it was summarily dismissed as a "sweeping change". It belongs here for a number of good reasons. First, it is well-written, secondly, it is properly and reliably sourced, and, most important in my opinion, it provides the reader with some "grounding" before plunging into the lengthy "Sources" section. Agree or disagree? Should this section be deleted? Should it remain within the article as is or further developed? Please don't remove it until a consensus has been reached. There are many editors working on this article. Please let them have some input on this. LOC2010DC (talk) 10:32, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

The only problem I have with it off the bat is the American spelling in what is a subject of British origin. - Dudesleeper talk 13:08, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
In addition: a) "the reader" is a poor rhetorical choice, an unsupportable generalization and a device acceptable in criticism only in "reader response" analyses, which an encyclopedia article is not - it should go; b) however it is sourced, the "secularization" phrase is problematic, since Dickens employs and makes reference to a Purgatory trope with the plight of Marley, who appears to Scrooge of his own volition as part of a "penance" and whose agony is reinforced by religious references to the star of Bethlehem and three wise men. Scrooge's redemption may have its outward manifestations in the secular world, but the entire point of Stave 1 is that he is in danger of a very real spiritual damnation - he narrowly avoids Marley's fate and thanks Heaven (and Marley) for it; c) some of the refs in the section to the history of Christmas observances duplicate material found in the sources section next. Overall, I'd say keep the section but rewrite it with an eye to that section. Sensei48 (talk) 22:26, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Dickens the first?[edit]

Shouldn't the first sentence in the section on Dickens read, "Dickens was NOT the first author to celebrate the Christmas season in literature?" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:51, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Unwieldy sentence[edit]

Wonderful article, in writing and content, it answered every question I had about the subject. The only problem is that I had to take a break from reading because of the immense frustration I had with one particular sentence. It is in the section "Sources", second paragraph, first sentence:

"Whilst Dickens's humiliating childhood experiences are not directly limned in Carol, his conflicting feelings for his father as a result of those experiences are principally responsible for the dual personality of the tale's protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge."

While I can live with the word "whilst", the word "limned" is so obscure and out of general circulation that I feel that it is out of line with the rest of the article, and it could scare off readers who may not have a degree in British Lit. In general, the sentence seems overlong and in need of rephrasing. Does anyone have any ideas? --Abie the Fish Peddler (talk) 20:32, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Abie, I agree wholeheartedly with you on this point. My version of the sentence follows:
"Although Dickens's humiliating childhood experiences are not directly mirrored in Carol, his conflicting feelings towards his father could account for the dual personality of the tale's protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge." Is that better? --Skol fir (talk) 22:37, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
It looks like already made the required changes at Revision 08:26, 27 December 2010, but we could still improve it further if necessary. This anonymous editor probably did not see your comment here and bypassed the usual courtesy of "discuss before discard." --Skol fir (talk) 16:34, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Judaism and "A Christmas Carol"[edit]

I noticed someone anonymously trying to include "A Christmas Carol" in a Wiki Project about Judaism, here on this Talk Page. If that person would like to make his reasons known, please do it here!

I did find an article in the journal "Tradition," which is a journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought, and it is entitled "The Day of Atonement in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol," by Martin H. Sable -- Tradition, Vol. 22 No. 3: Fall 1986, pp. 66–76. In this essay, Sable debates Dickens's familiarity with Judaism and finds parallels in Scrooge's conversion to the three main aspects of the Jewish Day of Atonement: repentance, prayer, and charity. Aside from there being parallels in Jewish theology, I am not sure that the story itself is tied to Judaism, or is a deliberate reflection of it. The anonymous wiki editor who tried to make this spurious claim first tried to replace Christianity with Judaism (stating as reason "wrong religion," then stating that the insertion of the Judaism Wiki Project was "accurate"). This sounds more like a fanatic trying to undermine another religion, rather than a sober contribution to knowledge. Any thoughts? --Skol fir (talk) 01:16, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

When a registered user who is a member of WP Judaism adds the tag, I'll be ok with it. Until then I regard it as a fanatic anon. carl bunderson (talk) (contributions) 01:32, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
I would still exercise extreme caution with a claim such as this. What Dickens is self-evidently familiar with is Roman Catholic theology, which posits the concept of Purgatory, a place or state after death in which a soul makes atonement for the guilt incurred by his/her sins, though after a time that soul will enter heaven. The ghost of Jacob Marley may well be in Purgatory working out his "penance," the term that he uses and one used by Catholics as part of the process of atoning to God for one's sins. Further, Dickens has written that the Marley segment of the story was inspired by the visitation of the Ghost in Hamlet, who is most definitely in Purgatory - as he notes that he is
"Doomed for a certain term to walk the night
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away."
- or Marley may be damned - the text is not definite on the point, though the use of the word "penance" as noted is significant, as is the fact that Marley is now being given a chance to do what he failed to do in life, which is antithetical to the idea of damnation. In either case, the theological underpinning of the story is Anglo-Catholic; it resembles Judaism only tangentially. Sensei48 (talk) 02:40, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Date of first publication[edit]

As an anonymous editor changed the date to Dec. 17, 1843, I thought I would do some research to see if this was true. I found a source of that info at :: Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens :: If anyone has other information about this, please provide it here. --Skol fir (talk) 22:13, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Another source... Dec 17, 1843: A Christmas Carol is Published. However, in this and the previous example, no reference is given for the authenticity of this date. I am still reserving judgement on this date, as one source could get it wrong, and other sources simply follow suit. --Skol fir (talk) 23:41, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

1st publication of "The Book of Christmas" by Thomas Hervey[edit]

David Goldsmith just tried to change the date of first publication for "The Book of Christmas" by Thomas Hervey. Please look at this reference :: The Appendix for "A Christmas carol" By Charles Dickens and note that the original date posted was correct (1837). Please check reliable references before making arbitrary changes like this. --Skol fir (talk) 20:58, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

The Book of Christmas[edit]

The first edition of Hervey's 'The Book of Christmas' (publisher: Spooner) is most certainly dated 1836. I have a copy with this date. It was reprinted in 1837.

The first edition was actually printed in December 1835 and post-dated to 1836. Early reviews of the book appeared in The Court Journal (19 December 1835) and The Literary Gazette (also 19 December 1835).

David Goldsmith 21 Mar 2011 — Preceding unsigned comment added by David Goldsmith (talkcontribs) 14:17, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Criticism Section[edit]

You seem to have got alot of positive criticism on this book but you need some negative criticism as well. Other wise this article may be accused of being unbiased.-James Pandora Adams —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:11, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Initial price[edit]

This can't be correct: Modestly priced at five shillings (equal to £20.79/$5.87 today). US$5.87 is not equivalent to 20 quid, and I would also say that £20 for a book is not "moderately priced". howcheng {chat} 19:16, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

I've wiped all the dollar entries. To use that template, one must first convert from sterling to dollar values in 1843!! As to five bob (which was not equivalent to 25 cents) - Dickens records the little tailor being fined five shillings for being "drunk and bloodthirsty in the streets" and Bob Cratchitt earned fifteen shillings a week, which was not enough to quite keep his family.--Elen of the Roads (talk) 21:07, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

Broken source for Douglas-Fairhurst?[edit]

I'm not sure, but I think the "Douglas-Fairhurst viii" source is not properly attributed. A precursory Google search provides several potential sources, but none of which are probably not the right one.

Ggppjj (talk) 17:39, 14 December 2012 (UTC)


  • The first is a very big statement, implying that Dicken's was the first to "superimposed his secular vision of the holiday upon the public". But the statement, once made, is left to stand alone. The following sentence takes a different direction.
  • "The forces that impelled Dickens to create a powerful, impressive, and enduring tale were the profoundly humiliating experiences of his childhood, the plight of the poor and their children during the boom decades of the 1830s and 1840s, Washington Irving's essays on Christmas published in his Sketch Book (1820) describing the traditional old English Christmas,[11] fairy tales and nursery stories, as well as satirical essays and religious tracts.[1][2][3]"
This sentence is so complex that it is confusing. Can it be unravelled into several sentences?
Amandajm (talk) 05:08, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

Lowell Offerings meets A Christmas Carol - a heads-up[edit]

In a book to be published next year, co-edited by Diana Archibald, on Charles Dickens' 1842 trip to Massachusetts, Natalie McKnight and Chelsea Bray will author a chapter on proposed sources for his book, "A Christmas Carol". The name of the upcoming book was not mentioned in the Boston Globe article below.

Natalie McKnight, a professor of English, and Dickens specialist, at Boston University, and Chelsea Bray, an undergraduate (now in graduate school) at Boston College, researched stories published in the "Lowell Offering" up through the time of Dickens' visit. He took with him 400 pages of magazine issues when he left Lowell. The stories were written by the "Lowell millwork girls", published under brief pseudonyms or anonymously. The researcher's premise is that some of the major ideas found in "A Christmas Carol" were first found by Dickens in the magazine stories. "A Christmas Carol" was published after the trip to America, in 1843. The newspaper article does not claim that he plagiarized the stories. There's bound to be a lot of debate over this premise.

"Was Dickens’s Christmas Carol borrowed from Lowell’s mill girls? A new discovery by literary scholars highlights an unexpected inspiration"

Thank you for your time, Wordreader (talk) 23:38, 26 December 2013 (UTC)