On December 19th, 1843 one of the most famous and influential Christmas books ever written was published in London, England by a small published named Chapman & Hall. The book was called “A Christmas Carol” and it was written by Charles Dickens. The story deals with themes of poverty and wealth and evils of greed at a time when England itself was examining social structure and poverty.
“A Christmas Carol” was originally priced at five shillings (equal to £21 today). The first printing of 6,000 copies sold out by Christmas Eve and the book continued to sell well into the new year. By May 1844, the book had entered a seventh edition which had sold out. In all, 24 editions ran in its original form. In spite of the disappointing profits for the author, the book was a huge artistic success, with most critics responding positively.
Dickens was fond of the book and returned to it yearly revising punctuation and phrasing. Since publication this novella has never gone out of print. Though we will probably never know for sure how many copies have been sold it has been suggested that there are over 200 million copies in print.
Since publication, “A Christmas Carol” has taken on a life of its own through stage and screen adaptations and parodies, but has left a lasting legacy on the Christmas holiday and how we look at poverty and giving. What would the holiday be without Scrooge and Bah Humbug.
You can check out this book and many others by Dickens at our shop today.