A Little Dickens To Do
Here we are 200 + 1 years on and still looking back to our past to help to teach us about the present. The web has Dickens' A Christmas Carol resources aplenty, but if you're in a bit of a Christmas crunch, check out the following websites. Michelle Henry has an ESL-friendly condensed Christmas Carol. Beyond reading materials, Judith Deleo Augustine offers interactive teaching approaches to A Christmas Carol. One of Augustine's activities has students write and perform conversations that might have occurred in an imaginary Christmas Carol situation, e.g., Mrs. Cratchit meets Scrooge on the street (before he changes) and lets him know just exactly what she thinks of him. Just like Dickens, Augustine's lessons can be practiced all year long, as her suggestions can be easily applied to the teaching of other novels.
BBC World Service: Learning English - Dickens the Teacher
Dickensian Character Names
The development of the characters in Dickens is often heralded as one of his greatest achievements. The Dictionary of British Literary Characters lists 989 named characters in his work, including everyone from Pickwick Papers' Arabella Allen right through to Our Mutual Friend's Eugene Wrayburn.
While characters in many novels before had used symbolic names, what Dickens did differently was refine the practice to suggest character traits and their role.The Dictionary of British Literary Characters lists 989 named characters in his work, including everyone from Pickwick Papers' Arabella Allen right through to Our Mutual Friend's Eugene Wrayburn." Alex Hudson BBC News Magazine
According to Ben Zimmer in "Not to Put Too Fine a Point on It: How Dickens Shaped the Lexicon", "Many of the names are so memorable that they too have entered the dictionary, as allusive descriptions of people with personalities like the characters. Thus, a Scrooge (from A Christmas Carol) is a miserly "bah, humbug!" type; a Fagin (from Oliver Twist) is a trainer of young thieves; and a Micawber (from David Copperfield) is an incurable optimist. If someone is Pecksniffian, then like Seth Pecksniff in Martin Chuzzlewit he's smarmily hypocritical, but if he's Pickwickian, then like Samuel Pickwick in The Pickwick Papers he's jovial, naive, and generous. We remember these characters even now for their apt names and for the words they spoke — both testaments to Dickens's prodigious linguistic gifts. This technique has since been used by everyone from James Joyce and Thomas Pynchon to F Scott Fitzgerald and Martin Amis." If you are looking for your very own Dickensian name or some for your students, try the Dickens Character Generator. My own moniker was Tolly Barster!
To be a Scrooge in Dickensian time was not that uncommon, with Christmas having less importance.
Library Lights - The Morgan LIbrary & Museum, New York
The Morgan Library and Museum was originally built to house the private collection of financier J.P. Morgan, the McKim Building (below right and centre) holding some precious manuscripts - both American and British in origin.
Prized among these is the original Charles Dickens manuscript of A Christmas Carol. Online viewers can inspect the digitized version close up by clicking on "humbug", above. Read the New York Times article on the Library's participation in the international celebration Dickens at 200 ~ an exhibition of manuscripts, photographs, letters, illustrations and artifacts to honour the bicentennial in 2012 of Charles Dickens’s birth. Of the 15,000 letters of Charles Dickens that have survived, the Morgan Library holds the largest collection in the U.S. (1500). In the 20 selected letters displayed online the reader is treated to Dickens' entertaining brilliance as well as "insight into his craftsmanship and imagination".
Ten things you may not know about A Christmas Carol
Click on Albert Finney and David Collings from the 1970 musical to find out ten things you may not know about A Christmas Carol.