Since then, there have been countless stage, screen, and radio adaptations of the classic story. The first film adaptation was a short silent movie version in 1901, titled Scrooge; or, Marley’s Ghost. There have been opera and ballet versions, an all-black musical called Comin’ Uptown (1979), and even a 1973 mime adaptation for the BBC starring Marcel Marceau. The Muppets, Mickey Mouse, and Mr. Magoo have all featured in adaptations of the book.
Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in six weeks during October and November 1843, and it appeared just in time for Christmas, on 19 December. The first edition sold out by Christmas Eve. The book’s effect was immediate. Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish historian (whom Dickens greatly admired), went straight out and bought himself a turkey after reading A Christmas Carol. By the end of 1844, thirteen editions had been released.
The book has been credited with popularising the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’, a greeting which, prior to Dickens’s story, was not widely used. The term ‘Scrooge’ has entered the language – and the Oxford English Dictionary – as shorthand for a tight-fisted and miserable person (although whenever we refer to a Christmas-hater as ‘a Scrooge’ we overlook the fact that Dickens’ character comes to embrace the holiday as a time of goodwill and good cheer at the end of the narrative). ‘Bah! Humbug!’ has become a universally recognised catchphrase, although Scrooge only uses it twice in the book. The name “Scrooge” became used as a designation for a miser, and was added to the Oxford English Dictionary as such in 1982.
A Christmas Carol captured the zeitgeist of the mid-Victorian revival of the Christmas holiday. Dickens had acknowledged the influence of the modern Western observance of Christmas and later inspired several aspects of Christmas, including family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games and a festive generosity of spirit.
Interesting update via Traci: Charles Dickens was acquainted with Lady Ada Lovelace. Dickens met Lovelace through Charles Babbage in the 1830s. They were friends until her death in 1852.
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