Kindle Advent Calendar: Day 16 – Charles Dickens' Victorian Christmas Stories


The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain
A Fancy for Christmas-Time
by Charles Dickens • Feedbooks

The Victorians had odd ideas about Christmas; for them, it was a sort of Halloween without the kids/costumes/candy, and with the trees/wreaths/holiday trappings. Spirits abound in the older Christmas stories, which we recall in Dickens’ more famous work, A Christmas Carol (also available over Feedbooks).

What many don’t know is that Dickens wrote other Christmas novels—The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain being a Christmas novella. The story involves a ghost that haunts Professor Redlow, a chemistry teacher who wallows in the troubles and tribulations of his past and, like Scrooge, though for different reasons, just can’t get the holiday cheer up.

Lesson for the wise: be merry over the holidays, lest ye be haunted by apparitions with Freudian analysis intentions.

You can also check out these other lesser-known Dickens Christmas fantasy novellas, both for young adults:

The Cricket on the Hearth

A cricket watches over two families and a mysterious lodger. No ghosts are involved, only sentient crickets. ((Okay, it might be a ghost.))

The Chimes

A poor misanthropist worker is shown through nightmare visions bestowed by Goblins ((Spirits. Dickens treats them as ghosts.)) that anybody can become evil through the wrong circumstances, so cheer the hell up.

What did I tell you?

So be of good cheer!

S∂’s full 2008 Advent Calendar.

2 thoughts on “Kindle Advent Calendar: Day 16 – Charles Dickens' Victorian Christmas Stories

  1. Good one! However, avoid The Battle of Life, another one of Dickens’ Christmas books. It not only is devoid of any fantastic elements, it is devoid of any interesting characters, plot or interesting writing.

    And I’d quibble with the categorization of the Christmas books as YA. I mean, they’d be fine for young adult readers, but the original audience was grupps, and (admittedly, like most good YA stuff) grupps would like them as much as YAs.


  2. Thanks, V! I heard bad things about Battle, and thus didn’t include it, and will definitely avoid it.

    You have a good point about the YA categorization, although I don’t think these days that most grownups would immediately throw away YA as being unworthy of them (ever since Harry Potter, and then the gates of what might be termed “mature” YA broke open; Dickens would have comfortably fit right in).

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