Dramaturgy for A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens

  • Above Harpers Weekly (Dec. 7, 1867) portrays the author at one of his readings.
  • "Dickens was a mythologist rather than a novelist; he was the last of the mythologists, and perhaps the greatest. He did not always manage to make his characters men, but he always managed, at the least, to make them gods. They are creatures like Punch or Father Christmas. They live statically, in a perpetual summer of being themselves."               –G.K. Chesterton, 1906

The Publication
of A Christmas Carol

 Dickens published the first  edition on December 19th, 1843.

   "Mr. Dickens has made the     world a Christmas present,     which will increase its      merriment at this festive     season  of the year, and, which     is far better, teach it an     important lesson, ...                     
 every one will read the book;      and, if they take our advice,      as quickly as they can." 

  London's Unitarian Inquirer     December 23, 1843.

 Because of the lack of copyright at the time, there were 12 stage productions of the novella by the end of 1844--only one of which Dickens collaborated with the playwright.

Victorian London

  • The following site contains an extensive collection of cultural artifacts, photos, advertisements, & slang from Victorian London: http://www.victorianlondon.org/
  • Because of his own poor upbringing, Dickens was always concerned with the destitute.  He became listless and frustrated with pamphlets he was writing on the subject because he felt they were not making the kind of impact he wished for.  After visiting one of the "Ragged Schools" Dickens realized that his cause would be better served made into a story--and that is how A Christmas Carol was conceived.  Read how that same school celebrated Christmas a few years later: http://www.victorianweb.org/periodicals/iln/81.html 

Christmas & Dickens
  • Fifteen Bob a Week
    Sol Eytinge 1869  The miserly Scrooge paid his clerk, Bob Cratchit, a weekly salary of fifteen shillings (cockney slang for  shilling was "bob").  Bob "pocketed on Saturdays but fifteen copies of his Christian name."

      According to C. Z. Barnett in his play A Christmas Carol or The Miser's Warning (1844) Cratchit  would have spent a week's wages to buy the ingredients for the Christmas feast: seven shillings for the goose, five for the pudding, and three for the onions, sage and oranges.  (Quoted from http://charlesdickenspage.com/carol.html)

  • The Wall Street Journal gives a fair summation: 

                                                                                                                     Dickens with paper cutter (for effect) and his condensed script (see above) at one of his readings.

"Time past & time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present."            -T.S. Eliot, The Four Quartets

For more information about the production at Triad Stage visit www.triadstage.org.
Dramaturgy site created by Drew Barker.