No holiday season is complete without Charles Dickens’s timeless tale of redemption starring the tightfisted Mr. Scrooge, the long-suffering Bob Cratchit, kindhearted Tiny Tim, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. But A Christmas Carol was only the first and most famous of Dickens’s holiday tales. In this edition, everyone’s favorite misanthrope appears in company with four more Dickens stories—The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, and The Haunted Man—that further develop the Chistmas spirit Dickens did so much to invent.
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was born in Portsmouth, England, and spent most of his life in London. When he was twelve, his father was sent to debtor’s prison and he was forced to work in a boot polish factory to help support the family, an experience that marked him for life. At age fifteen he found work in an attorney’s office and later become a reporter. His first stories and sketches were published in 1833, and after his tremendous success with the serialization of The Pickwick Papers in 1836 he turned to writing novels. A passionate advocate of social reform throughout his life, he was the most popular writer of the Victorian era.