Ten Fun Facts about A Christmas Carol
As referenced in Michael Patrick Hearn’s The Annotated Christmas Carol, Dickens attended the same St. Patrick’s Day party as one Dr. Miles Marley. Knowing Dickens’ interest in unusual names, Dr. Marley remarked upon his own unusual surname. Dickens’ reply: “Your name will be a household word before the year is out.”
Dickens started writing obsessively in October 1843 and finished his novella at the end of November–just in time for Christmas. If you look at our production calendar for the show, we’ve had almost the same amount of time to mount this production!
Dickens sporadically laughed and wept during the writing process and would take extremely long evening walks through London “when all sober folks had gone to bed.”
4. It was the first and last of his writings that Dickens read publicly.
Charles Dickens created a prompt book of A Christmas Carol for public readings. He would scribble notes about how to deliver the lines and “perform” these readings just like an actor on the stage. The only known prompt copy of A Christmas Carol is owned by the Berg Collection of English and American literature at the New York Public Library.
Before his readings, Dickens would drink two tablespoons of rum with cream for breakfast. Later, he would have a pint of champagne, and just before the performance, he would drink a sherry with a raw egg beaten into it. During the reading he would sip beef tea and would have soup just before bed.
7. Fan is Scrooge’s sister–and Dickens’. Scrooge’s sister’s name is Fan. According to Hearn’s The Annotated Christmas Carol, Fanny was the name of Scrooge’s older (and favorite) sister.
Though it was more common to say “Happy Christmas,” Dickens repeats the phrase “Merry Christmas” throughout A Christmas Carol. When Dickens’ novella became wildly successful, the phrase “Merry Christmas” was popularized and became a standard Christmas greeting.
Only six weeks after its publication, A Christmas Carol was adapted by Edward Stirling for the London stage. It then transferred to New York’s Park Theatre.