The Annotated Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens
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Buy *The Annotated Christmas Carol: A Christmas Carol in Prose* online

The Annotated Christmas Carol: A Christmas Carol in Prose
Charles Dickens, Michael Patrick Hearn, and illus. John Leech
W.W. Norton
288 pages
November 2003
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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The perfect gift for traditionalists, with a great helping of booklore, trivia and anecdotes to complete the literary feast, this is a reissue of the 1976 edition. Charles Dickensí A Christmas Carol is as much a part of this holiday season as Itís a Wonderful Life. The Annotated Christmas Carol is that wonderful blend of hope, poverty, ghosts and folklore that illustrates the theme of greed versus generosity and kindness in the Victorian era.

One who loves books cannot fail to appreciate the qualities of this reissue: the stories behind the story, people and places, customs and phrases. Since the 1976 version, the Oxford University Press has published the letters of Charles Dickens, opening up a wealth of new material for Michael Patrick Hearn to glean more details, including behind-the-scenes machinations of the original publication.

The particular archaic language is explained, as well as its origins. Hearnís meticulous research has unearthed a plethora of details, adding to the complexity of the tale: Dickensí autobiographical details, as well as an historical perspective, the where and how of the first printing and Dickensí oration that so enchanted his audiences. Finally, there is the Appendix, the Public Reading version of the text.

The artwork is outstanding; photographs, lithographs and engravings are sprinkled throughout the pages, lending that authentic Victorian flavor of Dickensí tale of the plight of the poor in an indifferent society. In addition, there are gorgeous four-color illustrations from the original printing, including the front cover in 1843. Hearn has put together a small expanded masterpiece of a treasured Christmas story, with beautiful reproductions of the original artwork. All in all, this is a book to be treasured by the family and shared in the true spirit of the season.

© 2003 by Luan Gaines for Curled Up With a Good Book

buy *The Annotated Christmas Carol: A Christmas Carol in Prose* online
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