"Christmas stories" by Charles Dickens

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ss, nobility etc. It has very deep meaning in itself, and reading this story you can learn so much useful things for yourself. The story has one simple plot. It is told by Mrs. Lirriper `s own words, and the comprehendible speech makes the story more interesting and entertaining.

Of the landlady as the waiter it may be said that Dickens left in a slight sketch what might have developed through a long and strong novel. For Dickens had hold of one great truth, the neglect of which has , as it were, truncated and made meager the work of many brilliant modern novelists. Modern novelists try to make long novels out of subtle characters. But a subtle character soon comes to an end, because it works in and in to its own centre and dies there. But a simple character goes on for ever in a fresh interest and energy, because it works out and out into the infinite universe. Mr. George Moore in France is not by any means as interesting as Mrs. Lirriper in France; for she is trying to find France and he is only trying to find George Moore. Mrs. Lirriper is the female equivalent of Mr. Pickwick. Unlike Mrs. Bardell she was fully worthy to be Mrs. Pickwick. For in both cases the essential truth is the same; that original innocence which alone deserves adventures and because it alone can appreciate them. We have had Mr. Pickwick in England and we can imagine him in France. We have had Mrs. Lirriper in France and we can imagine her in Mesopotamia or in heaven. The subtle character in the modern novels we cannot really imagine anywhere except in the suburbs or in Limbo.



The vitality of Dickens works is singularly great. They are all a-throb, as it were, with hot human blood. They are popular in the highest sense because their appeal is universal, to the as well as the educated. The humor is superb, and most of it, so far as one can judge, of no ephemeral kind. The pathos is more questionable, but that too, at its simplest and best; and especially when the humour is shot with it is worthy of a better epithet than excellent. It is supremely touching. Imagination, fancy, wit, eloquence, the keenest observation, the most strenuous endeavor to reach the highest artistic excellence, the largest kindliness, - all these he brought to his life-work. And that work, as I think, will live, it can be prophecy for ever. Of course fashions change. Of course no writer of fiction, writing for his own little day, can permanently meet the needs of all after times. Some loss of immediate vital interest is inevitable. Nevertheless, in Dickens case, all will not die. Half a century, a century hence, he will still be read; not perhaps as he was read when his words flashed upon the world in their first glory and freshness, nor as he is read now in the noon of his fame. But he will be read much more than we read the novelists of the last century be read as much, shall I say, as we still read Walter Scott. And so long as he is read, there will be one gentle and humanizing influence the more at work among men.

Though Charles Dickens novels continued to be read by large numbers of readers, his literary reputation was an eclipse. There was a tendency to see his novels as appropriate for children and young adults. Russian writers came into vogue and were generally regarded as superior to Dickens from 1880 through the early part of the twentieth century. This preference is ironic because the Russian novelists both admired Dickens and learned from him. Turgenev praised Dickens work and even wrote for Dickens magazine, Household Words, during the Crimean War. Tolstoy wrote of Dickens, “All his characters are my personal friends I am constantly comparing them with living persons, and living persons with them, and what a spirit there was in all he wrote.” Dostoevsky was so impressed that he imitated the death of Little Nell, including the sentimentality, in describing the death of Nelli Valkovsky in The Insulted and the Injured (1862). Supposedly, during his exile in Siberia, he read only Pickwick Papers and David Copperfield. Even if this story is apocryphal, Dickens influence on Uncles Dream and The Friend of the Family (1859), written while Dostoevsky was in Siberia, is unmistakable. Ironically, English critics in the 1880s were puzzled by Dostoevskys similarities to Dickens.

Dickens literary standing was transformed in the 1940s and 1950s because of essays written by George Orwell and Edmund Wilson, who called him “the greatest writers of his time,” and full-length study by Humphrey House, The Dickens World. Critics discovered complexity, darkness, and even bitterness in his novels, and by the 1960s some critics felt that, like Shakespeare. Dickens could not be classified into existing literary categories. This view of Dickens as incomparable continues to the present day. Edgar Johnson expresses the prevailing modern view in his assessments of Dickens: “Far more than a great entertainer, a great comic writer, he looks into the abyss. He is one of the great poets of the novel, a genius of his art.” This is not to say that every critic or reader accepts Johnsons view; F.R. Leavis could not take Dickens so seriously: “The adult mind doesnt as a rule find in Dickens a challenge to an unusual and sustained seriousness.” In the resurgence of Dickens reputation, his essays, sketches, and articles have received attention and praise. K.J. Fielding believes, “If he were not so well known as a novelist, he might have been recognized as a great essayist.”

Dickens as a modern novelist and all his books are modern novels. Dickens didnt know at what really point he became a novelist. The novel being a modern product is one of the few things to which we really can apply that disgusting method of thought the method of evolution. His Christmas stories publishing in the Household Words and All the Year Round had great fame in his time, but it doesnt mean that it is forgotten nowadays. The Christmas theme always attracted people, and the warmth, loveliness, kindliness of these stories fills everybodys heart with joy and happiness. They are translated into many languages and are read present days and I hope they will be loved by the readers many centuries. There was painful moment (somewhere about the eighties) when we watched anxiously to see whether Dickens was fading form the modern world. We have watched a little longer, and with a great relief we begin to realize that it is the modern world that is fading.

Now Dickens must definitely be considered in the light of the changes which his soul foresaw. Dickens has done much; he belongs to Queen Victoria as much as Addison belongs to Queen Anne, and it is not only Queen Anne dead. But Dickens, in a dark prophetic kind of way, belongs to the developments. His name comes to the tongue when we are talking of Christian Socialists or Mr. Roosevelt or Country Council Steam Boats or Guilds of Play. Charles Dickens was a very great man, and there are many ways of testing and stating the fact. But one permissible way is to say this, that he was an ignorant man, ill-read in the past, and often confused about the present. Yet he remains great and true, and even essentially reliable, if we suppose him to have known not only all that went before his lifetime, but also all that was to come after.

He was simple man; he loved ordinary people from lower classes. He did not evaluate them by their education, job or economic situation. That is why many of his heroes of his novels and especially of Christmas stories were poor, pity men who earned for living hardly but honestly. He believed in better future. This optimism is mentionable in most of his creative works. Capitalist society did not appeal him because he wanted people from lower classes to live less unhappy, less hungry, less insulted. Reading the Christmas stories of Charles Dickens we meet such problems, sentimental nuances. He was realistic writer and showed real picture of life with all of its good and bad sides, however, humor, high mood of these stories make us to believe in happy, joyful future.


“My trust in people, who rule, is insignificant. My trust in people, who are being ruled, is boundless.”

Charles Dickens




The sources in Azerbaijan

  1. Əhmədoğlu B. - arlz Dikkens. Kommunist qəz. Bakı, 1962, 7 fevral
  2. “Ədəbiyyat və incəsənət” qəz. - arlz Dikkens. Bakı, 1970, 10 fevral

The sources in Russian

1) А.А. Аникст и В.В. Ивашев - Чарльз Диккенс: Собрание сочинений в 30-ти томах. Т.12, Москва, 1959

2) А.А. Аникст - Диккенс Чарльз. Т.1. Москва, 1957

  1. Катарский Игорь Максимилианович - Диккенс в России: Середина XIX века. Москва, 1966
  2. Мадзигон М.В. - Реализм раннего творчества Чарльза Диккенса. Тбилиси, 1962
  3. Скуратовская Л. - Творчество Диккенса. Москва, 1969
  4. Уилсон Энгус - Мир Чарльза Диккенса. Москва, 1975
  5. Урнов М.В. - Неподражаемый Чарльз Диккенс. Москва, 1990. стр. 204-257

The sources in English