Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Man Who Invented Christmas

How Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits
by Les Standiford
December 2012

Reading Dodger made me want to read this book. Its subtitle explains its premise. The first part of the book is about Charles Dickens' career and how he rose to fame with his serialized novels. It goes on to tell about the decline of his popularity and what led to the writing of his most famous and widely read work, A Christmas Carol.

The argument about "inventing Christmas" is not very well made. Standiford does acknowledge that celebrations of Christmas already existed and he tries to explain how Dickens set certain traditions in people's minds and hearts. But his book kind of fizzles out like a leaking balloon.  I don't disagree that Christmas as we know it owes a lot to Dickens (and Clement Clark Moore and Coca-Cola) but Standiford really has written a book about Dickens, not about Christmas.  There are probably better books about the invention of our Merry Christmas mythos.

Still, I enjoyed the book.

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