Holiday Musts: See Dickens’ “Christmas Carol” Manuscript

The world’s most famous ghost story is on display at the Morgan

By Elizabeth Bougerol
|  Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009  |  Updated 11:45 AM EDT
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Holiday Musts: See Dickens’ “Christmas Carol” Manuscript

The book that grew out of the manuscript in question.

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Note to those with procrastination issues or writer’s block: Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” in six weeks in the fall of 1843 to make the deadline for the holiday retail season. And he didn’t have a shiny MacBook to make his life easier, either.

When the original manuscript was returned to him by the publisher, Dickens had it bound in red Moroccan leather as a gift for his solicitor. It then changed hands a few times until it was acquired by Pierpont Morgan in the 1890s, and it’s now on display at the Morgan’s Library in the museum's McKim Building, through January 10. What’s immediately apparent is how Dickens worked: He banged the thing out, revising as he wrote, refining with more active verbs and tightening up his prose. All with a quill.

Makes us feel like slackers.

Details
Exhibition: Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" original manuscript
On display through January 10, 2010
The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue, 212-685-0008
Pricing varies, see themorgan.org for information
More information on the exhibit here

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