- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
1.) Dickens went a little mad writing A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
As he wrote, Dickens wept and laughed and wept again and would often take long night walks through London,
covering anywhere between 15 or 20 miles “when all sober folks had gone to bed”.
When he completed the book, he “broke out”, as he himself described it, “like a madman”.
2.) Dickens stole the story -- from himself.
The story is loosely based on Gabriel Grubb, a character in The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton,
which appeared in Dickens’ first published novel, The Pickwick Papers.
In the story, a gravedigger determined not to make merry at Christmas, is kidnapped by goblins and convinced to change his ways.
3.) His novel was pirated ... and he sued, won, and ultimately lost.
Two months after the publication of A Christmas Carol, Parley’s Illuminated Library pirated it.
Dickens sued and won his case.
The pirates, on the other hand, simply declared themselves bankrupt,
leaving Dickens to pay £700 in costs, equal to £56,364 today.
4.) Charles Dickens was the first "Pop" star author, later inspiring Mark Twain.
In 1853, 10 years after its publication,
Charles Dickens gave the first public performance in Birmingham’s town hall.
He performed it in front of a rapturous crowd of 2,000,
all working people from the town, and it lasted just under three hours.
Before this time, no great author had performed their works in public and for profit,
which many thought beneath Dickens’ calling as a writer and a gentleman.
5.) Dickens began with A Christmas Carol, and he ended with it.
His last reading of the little book took place in London at St James’s Hall, on March 15, 1870.
At the end of the performance, he told his audience:
“From these garish lights, I vanish now for evermore,
with a heartfelt, grateful, respectful, and affectionate farewell.”
There was a stunned silence, broken by a tumult of cheering, hat-waving and the stamping of feet.
With tears streaming down his face, Dickens raised his hands to his lips in an affectionate kiss
and departed from the platform for ever.
He died three months later, aged 58.