The original version

A Christmas Carol was written in 1843.  Dickens had already written some of his greatest works: Pickwick Papers, Oliver twist, Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, and he was working on Martin Chuzzlewit.  This latter work was being published as a series of monthly episodes, but was failing to attract the number of readers that previous works had lead the publishers to expect. 

From the summer of 1843, in order to counteract this worrying trend, and to prop up his financial circumstances, Dickens decided to turn out a complete Christmas book in between the episodes of Chuzzlewit.  Once he had started on it, the book ran away with him; it excited it him so much that in the small hours, 'when all sober folks had gone to bed', he walked the dark streets of London for fifteen or twenty miles, possessed by it.  

It was published in the December, and reversed the fortunes of Martin Chuzzlewit.

A Christmas Carol was the first of five Christmas books that Dickens wrote, but it remained the best-loved of them all.  

In the preface to the first edition, Dickens wrote:

I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book to raise the Ghost of an Idea which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.

Their faithful Friend and Servant,


December 1843

© Katisha Limited 2013