Why Charles Dickens Wrote “A Christmas Carol”
by Kate Eschner/Smithsonian.com
The Christmas Carol is more than a timeless Christmas story. Its author hoped that its lessons would be remembered all through the year.
The publication of A Christmas Carol on this day in 1843 ensured that Charles Dickens’ name would forever be linked with Christmas. In some ways, it’s a very Victorian story of urban circumstances: extremes of wealth and poverty, industry and inability. But it also helped change Victorian society, writes historian Catherine Golden for the National Postal Museum blog. And that’s why Dickens wrote it.
Aside from boosting people’s awareness of the plight of the poor in Victorian England, though, Dickens also had a more immediate need: cash. He’d spent too much on his 1842 American tour, Golden writes, and he needed to support his large family. “Thinking creatively, he wrote himself out of his dilemma,” she reports.
The already well-known writer’s solution worked, to a degree. He sold out the first print run in a week, all 6,000 copies of it…..