The Advent Calendar of Literature: Day 15

Interesting Literature

Yesterday’s Christmas fact concerned the original draft of A Christmas Carol, Dickens’s most popular Christmas book. Today’s piece of Christmas literary trivia concerns the impact of this novella – and why its enormous success still left its author in financial trouble.

Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in six weeks during October and November 1843, and it appeared just in time for Christmas, on 19 December. He wrote at such speed partly to get the book out before Christmas, but also Christmas Carol 2because Dickens wanted to draw attention to the plight of the poor in Britain at the time. Dickens himself was experiencing financial problems of sorts (though hardly on the same scale): his latest novel Martin Chuzzlewit was doing badly, with sales having dropped to around 20,000 per instalment, compared with the sales of The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge, his previous novels, which had sold up to…

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