A CHRISTMAS CAROL is what Charles Dickens described as his "little Christmas Book" and was first published on December 19, 1843 with illustrations by John Leech, which are here reproduced. The story was instantly successful, selling over six thousand copies in one week. The tale has become one of the most popular and enduring Christmas stories of all time. Contemporaries noted that the story's popularity played a critical role in redefining the importance of Christmas and the major sentiments associated with the holiday. A Christmas Carol was written during a time of decline in the old Christmas traditions. This is a large 6 x 9 size edition, beautifully illustrated with many wonderful pictures which add greatly to important and dramatic scenes in the story.
Charles Dickens was born in 1812 near Portsmouth where his father was a clerk in the navy pay office. The family moved to London in 1823, but their fortunes were severely impaired. Dickens was sent to work in a blacking-warehouse when his father was imprisoned for debt. Both experiences deeply affected the future novelist. In 1833 he began contributing stories to newspapers and magazines, and in 1836 started the serial publication of Pickwick Papers. Thereafter, Dickens published his major novels over the course of the next twenty years, from Nicholas Nickleby to Little Dorrit. He also edited the journals Household Words and All the Year Round. Dickens died in June 1870.