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A Christmas Carol: and Other Holiday Treasures (Word Cloud Classics)

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en Limba Engleză Carte Paperback – 23 Sep 2013
Brighten the season with tales from the master of Christmastime fiction.

Most famous in the realm of holiday literature for his 1843 publication, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens was in fact a prolific writer in the yuletide genre and a great contributor to many now-prevalent traditions of the holiday itself. In the year following the release of A Christmas Carol, Dickens released The Chimes: A Christmas Story of Some Bells That Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In. This story combined his usual sympathy for the poor with the notion that we must always strive to live in nobler ways. In 1845 came The Cricket on the Hearth, a novella that, in its time, surpassed even A Christmas Carol in popularity for stage productions. The years 1846 and 1848 respectively saw published The Battle of Life and The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain. Given this wealth of Christmas-themed works, it is no wonder that Dickens is sometime referred to as “the man who invented Christmas.”

 

Perfect for both fans of Dickens’ work and those who just find special pleasure in the holiday spirit, these five Christmas stories are now available as part of the Word Cloud Classics series, providing a chic, inexpensive introduction to timeless tales.

 

About the Word Cloud Classics series:

Classic works of literature with a clean, modern aesthetic! Perfect for both old and new literature fans, the Word Cloud Classics series from Canterbury Classics provides a chic and inexpensive introduction to timeless tales. With a higher production value, including heat burnished covers and foil stamping, these eye-catching, easy-to-hold editions are the perfect gift for students and fans of literature everywhere.
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Specificații

ISBN-13: 9781607109440
ISBN-10: 1607109441
Pagini: 400
Ilustrații: b-w text
Dimensiuni: 133 x 197 x 25 mm
Greutate: 0.52 kg
Ediția: 1st Edition
Editura: CANTERBURY CLASSICS
Colecția Canterbury Classics
Seria Word Cloud Classics


Notă biografică

Charles Dickens was a brilliant and prolific writer, probably the most famous nineteenth century English novelist. He was very successful during his lifetime and his books have never been out of print. The exciting plots and fantastic characters in his books have meant they have all been adapted (in some cases, many times over) for television or the big screen. Charles Dickens was born on 7 February 1812 in Portsmouth. He was one of eight children, and at first his family enjoyed a happy life in the countryside of Kent. But Dickens' father was not very good at managing his money, and when the family fell into financial difficulties they had to move to London. In Dickens' time people who could not pay their debts were sent to a kind of prison, and Dickens' father eventually ended up in one of these debtor's prisons, called the Marshalsea. Charles was forced to leave school and go to work in a 'blacking factory' where he pasted labels on to pots for many hours a day. Even though Charles was only twelve at this time, he understood that without education he would never escape the poverty that had so entrapped his family. Charles often used his childhood experiences in his books. For instance, in David Copperfield, the hero Davy is taken out of school by his cruel stepfather and sent to work in a similar factory. Another novel, Little Dorrit, is set in and around the Marshalsea prison. Fortunately Charles was eventually sent back to school. He went to work as a lawyer's clerk, and then as a political reporter. In 1833 he began to publish short stories and essays in newspapers and magazines. His first book, The Pickwick Papers, was published in instalments in a monthly magazine, and was a roaring success. Even before this book was finished, Charles began writing another novel, Oliver Twist. This is one of his most famous books - perhaps you've read it, or seen the musical or one of the film adaptations? Many other novels followed and Dickens became a celebrity in America as well as Britain. He also set up and edited the journals Household Words (1850-9) and All the Year Round (1859-70). Dickens used his books to highlight the suffering of the poor, the inadequate support provided to them, and the massive inequalities between the different ranks of society. This social and political commentary was very influential and it is believed Dickens' work did a great deal to reform workhouses, prisons, and most particularly public opinion of the working classes. Charles travelled all over Britain and America giving public readings from his books. He was a wonderful performer(at one point he had wanted to be an actor) and his readings were said to be electrifying - women in the audience would scream and faint when he read about the murder of Nancy from Oliver Twist. His readings were therefore extremely popular, and on some occasions Dickens only charged a penny for tickets so that poorer people could also attend. In later years, these energetic readings took a terrible toll on his failing health. Dickens died after stroke on 9 June 1870, leaving his last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Textul de pe ultima copertă

In October 1843, Charles Dickens heavily in debt and obligated to his publisher began work on a book to help supplement his family's meager income. That volume, "A Christmas Carol, "has long since become one of the most beloved stories in the English language. As much a part of the holiday season as holly, mistletoe, and evergreen wreaths, this perennial favorite continues to delight new readers and rekindle thoughts of charity and goodwill.
With its characters exhibiting many qualities as well as failures often ascribed to Dickens himself, the imaginative and entertaining tale relates Ebenezer Scrooge's eerie encounters with a series of spectral visitors. Journeying with them through Christmases past, present, and future, he is ultimately transformed from an arrogant, obstinate, and insensitive miser to a generous, warmhearted, and caring human being. Written by one of England's greatest and most popular novelists, "A Christmas Carol" has come to epitomize the true meaning of Christmas."

Extras

MARLEY was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.

The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot—say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance—literally to astonish his son's weak mind.

Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names: it was all the same to him.

Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.

External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, nor wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often 'came down' handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, 'My dear Scrooge, how are you? when will you come to see me?' No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was 'oclock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blindmen's dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, 'no eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!'

But what did Scrooge care? It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call 'nuts' to Scrooge.

Once upon a time—of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve—old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside, go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement-stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already: it had not been light all day: and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale.

The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn't replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed.


From the Paperback edition.

Recenzii

At a recent department meeting, it became evident that Dickens is an author who can divide a room. 'Let's teach some Dickens at key stage three,' some argued. 'I can't imagine anything worse,' others said. 'Too difficult', 'too wordy', 'enough to put anyone off'. 'But the stories are great,' I argued. It's easy to see both sides of the argument. As someone who has dipped in and out of Dickens over the years, I have always been delighted by the actual reading of the novel, but sometimes it has taken a considerable effort of will to start the thing. Many are long, all are complex, and there is some truth in the assertion that they are too difficult-not for all, certainly, but for some children at key stage three, Dickens could sound the death knell for reading pleasure. There is a case, then, for a differentiated Dickens, and here, as with other literary classics, Real Reads provides a helpful solution. The series currently includes nine of the major novels: Bleak House, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Hard Times, Oliver Twist and Great Expectations, The Old Curiosity Shop, A Tale of Two Cities and Little Dorrit. All follow the same format-a couple of pages introducing the characters with some delightful illustrations by Karen Donnelly, forty-seven pages of narrative and a 'Taking Things Further' section at the back. Like other Real Reads, too, the novels are not designed to replace the originals, but to complement them. The publisher's hope is that for some readers, the Real Reads are a springboard into the original texts; for others it is to broaden their range of cultural experience and introduce them to a world of wonderful plots and characters. What makes these retellings particularly appealing from a classroom point of view is that significant attention is paid to the language use characteristic of the authors. The novels are retold with some integrity to the original-that is that some of the cadence of Dickens is retained; that some of the vocabulary remains authentic, and that some of those seminal passages remain relatively unaltered. Take the opening of A Tale of Two Cities as an example, 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the season of wealth, it was the season of poverty. In short, it was a time very much like the present.' In short, it is very much like the original. The retellings go some way to preserving Dickens's characters and while there are of course casualties, the characters that remain are rounded and engaging. For Oliver we feel pity as he pleads with Sikes 'P-p-p-please don't make me steal,' in the face of Sikes terrifying whisper 'Quiet, vermin'. We long for Nancy to be saved by Mrs Maylie and feel the poignancy of her departure: 'You must take Oliver to safety. I must return to my life.' We sense the justice in Fagin's wait for death 'his face so distorted and pale, his eyes so bloodshot, that he already looked more dead than alive as he awaited his punishment.' Of course, we also feel the delight and relief as 'Oliver and Mr Brownlow walked hand in hand to their carriage.' Some of Dickens's humour is preserved: Mrs Joe is to be found bringing Pip up by hand and at the birth of David Copperfield, Peggotty's 'bosom swelled with such joy and pride that two buttons popped from her bodice and flew across the room.' The heartbreak remains too: 'As he wasted away over the next few days, Little Dorrit didn't leave her father's side. His spirit was like a maimed bird, able to think only of the place that had broken its wings. Finally, his spirit broke free of all earthly concerns. Little Dorrit wept bitterly. The 'Filling in the Spaces' section at the back of each book provides a helpful resource for teachers. Elements of the plot that have been omitted in order to contain the retelling in such a thin volume are listed here and can provide a useful point of departure to read some of the original text. There is some contextual material pertinent to the text, so for Little Dorrit we learn that Dickens's father was sent to Marshalsea Prison when Dickens was twelve and for Hard Times we can read about the rise of steam power and the way in which machinery in factories gave rise to mass migration to cities. There is also a two-page section called 'Food for thought' that provides points for discussion, themes, style and symbols and would neatly help shape classroom discussion and activity. In The Old Curiosity Shop, for example, 'Oscar Wilde said that Nell's death makes the reader laugh, whereas critics in Dickens' time were usually overcome by grief. Which is closer to your own reaction? Why?' would lend itself very well to paired, group or whole-class debate. Thinking about how the symbols of fog, hands, light and shadow and city and countryside match the action in Bleak House immediately suggests ways in which pupils might track language against action as they read. At the lower end of the price range for class readers, the excellent and durable quality of the books presents a good investment at GBP4.99 RRP for individual texts. -- Jane Campion Use of English