God Bless Us, Every One!
John Mitchinson explores why we still celebrate Christmas with Dickens
In one episode of Backlisted, the books podcast I co-host, we offered listeners a demonic choice: to save three Dickens books for posterity, they had to consign one of the following to oblivion – Bleak House, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol.
A distressing number of people chose to vaporise A Christmas Carol and the reasons were broadly the same: it was the prime example of Dickens as purveyor of what James Joyce was later to deplore as “sentimental domestic trauma and emotional claptrap”.
There’s a lot of Dickens that fits this description but not, I think, A Christmas Carol.