see url Although the critical reception of the last of the Christmas Books of Charles Dickens was, as Michael Slater remarks, "very mixed, with hostile predominating" CB II, , with its charming red cover, gilt lettering, and abundant illustrations by a talented team of first-rate artists, Dickens was able to announce the immensely satisfying figure of 18, in advance sales to Thomas Beard on 19 December, After a lapse of two years, Dickens was back on the Christmas market with a vengeance, despite a lukewarm response to The Battle of Life 19 December, In some cases 's little scarlet book, lavishly illustrated with thirteen plates by four well-known artists Daniel Maclise, Clarkson Stanfield, Richard Doyle, and once again John Leech was greeted with what amounts to critical ridicule: In the seasonal offering Dickens had abandoned the allegorical flavour, "the explicit social criticism" Guida , and the supernatural machinery common to A Christmas Carol , The Chimes , and The Cricket on the Hearth , subsequently much-dramatised.
Now, after an enforced absence of two Christmases, he reverted to these narrative features and strategies, albeit with a less heart-warming curmudgeon than Ebenezer Scrooge, Trotty Veck, John Peerybingle, or Dr. Jeddler as his protagonist.
Dickens learned two valuable lessons from his Christmas book failure, The Battle of Life: Here Dickens returned to the themes, structure, and strategies of A Christmas Carol , and while it is in no way the masterpiece that the Carol undoubtedly is, to modern readers it is more interesting and complex than the intervening three books. In its exegesis of the role memory in shaping a character's moral fiber, and in its cohesive and economical plot, it both emulates the Carol and anticipates the novels which succeeded it. Consistently throughout the Christmas Books Dickens had adhered to the tight form of the novella, with a main and a subplot, a limited cast of characters, highly individualized dialogue, and a programme of illustration which he had both orchestrated and conducted, as his letters to the various artists reveal.
The whole series involves 57 plates and seven artists in all:. In their place appeared three drawings by the self-taught artist Frank Stone father of Marcus Stone who was to illustrate Our Mutual Friend who had been friendly with Dickens since they met in the Shakespeare Club in ; and five drawings by John Tenniel who later took Doyle's place on Punch and achieved fame through his illustrations for Lewis Carroll. Whereas A Christmas Carol , more modestly illustrated with eight plates by a single artist, did not even contain a list of illustrations, the remaining Christmas Books had emphasized the pictorial element.
In a sense, the second in the series, The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Ran an Old Year Out and a New Year In , had set the visual pattern for the series, having thirteen plates ten of them dropped into the text as a stunning synthesis of pictorial and textual narratives by four accomplished artists. This team approach Dickens inaugurated almost certainly to ensure that all plates would be ready in time for the December publication date. His illustrators were busy in those days, working for Punch and other illustrated magazines, as well as working on other writers' books.
Despite the fact that the illustrations added considerably to the purchase price of Dickens's annual Christmas offering especially if these were hand-coloured and would thereby decrease his profits as was very much the case with the Carol five years earlier , Dickens did not merely maintain the programme of illustration that accompanied previous Christmas Books; he expanded it. With the exception of Tenniel, the artists were all close friends of Dickens well before he commenced writing The Haunted Man in the summer of Dickens first became acquainted with Stanfield in Dec.
Tenniel has been here today and will go to work on the frontispiece. We must arrange for a dinner here [Devonshire Terrace], very shortly, when you and he may meet. He seems to be a very agreeable fellow, and modest. Tenniel was some three years younger than Leech and considerably younger than Stanfield , but had already exhibited at the Society of British Artists in and at the Royal Academy Since Dickens's usual engraver, L.
Martin whose firm was responsible for seven of the 17 Haunted Man plates was married to Tenniel's sister, it is surprising that Dickens and Tenniel had not met sooner. The year after illustrating The Haunted Man Tenniel replaced Doyle on the staff of Punch when the latter left because as a Catholic he objected to the magazine's attacks on the papacy. Dickens, not yet aware of Tenniel's capabilities, confined him to ornamental subjects the frontispiece, the title-page, and the fire-side scene that opens the story proper , and gave over to him what Leech had not the time for, resulting in the extremely wooden renditions of Mrs.
A Hammerton explains why, despite their long-standing friendship which included a trip to Cornwall together in and Stanfield's brilliant theatrical scenery painting, especially of seascapes, Dickens did not entrust a larger share of any of the Christmas Book illustrated programmes to him. In "To Frank Stone" 21 Nov. Stone's sequence follows Milly Swidger wearing the same dress in each ; "Milly and the Old Man," "Milly and the Student," and "Milly and the Children,"all executed with that firmness of line and Giotto-like solidity of figure for which his work was known.
Milly is the central figure in each half-page illustration. On November 23, writing from Brighton, Dickens applauds Stone's first picture in the sequence: However, Dickens is already formulating plans to use her as the counter-touchstone to Redlaw's Midas touch, and insists she be given a matronly cap to add to her age and dignity:.
There is something coming in the last part, about her having had a dead child, which makes it yet more desirable than the existing text does, that she should have that little matronly sign about her. With what a subtle hand the charioteer directs his proud steeds, always suggesting and pointing through praise, but never commanding!
Meantime, publication day drawing ever nearer and the bulk of the work depending upon the ever- busy Leech, Dickens had written him from Devonshire Terrace before departing for Brighton, urging haste: Although Dickens feels that " peed is now of transcendent importance" the latter two words doubly underlined , de still manages his leading horse with a gentle hand: Unless anything else should strike you particularly. The writer correctly assessed Leech's strength as comedy from the first, and steered him towards the petit bourgeois family of newsvendors who are The Haunted Man 's equivalents of the Carol 's Cratchits, representing a class and a social group so well known to the writer, his own family when he was a child.
In the earlier letter," Early next week, I will describe the large illustration of the dinner to you" Letters 5: However, undoubtedly concerned that Punch business is pressing Leech, Dickens sent the artist a letter via his publisher, William Bradbury, from the Bedford Hotel, Brighton, " explaining that not knowing how his time may serve, I have given the dinner subject to Stanfield" Letters 5: The jollity of Scrooge's Christmas prize-turkey, punch, and polkas has boiled down to beef which Stanfield indicates is something like a multi-layered cake with white icing! The only spirits we are ever to credit fully in the Christmas Books in general and The Haunted Man are those of familial conviviality, charity, forgiveness, and compassion for our fellow man: Sadly, in part owing to Stanfield's deficiencies and in part to a growing want of something in Dickens's own life, the bonhomie that attends the close of each of the other Christmas Books seems lacking here.
Harry Stone identifies the culmination of A Christmas Carol as "Scrooge's redemption and our enlightenment " p. The Carol 's spirits or ghosts, like the Phantom in The Haunted Man are both supernatural agents and allegorical figures helping to effect this redemption. Like Redlaw, "Scrooge assures us that we can advance from the prison of the self to the paradise of community" p. The term "imprisoned" actually occurs at the close of The Haunted Man with reference to Redlaw's kindlier, gentler side as " the dove so long imprisoned in his solitary ark might fly for rest and company" — for social integration " Milly the embodiment of his better wisdom" and away from self-imposed alienation " the Ghost.
Then, as Christmas is a time in which, of all times in the year, the memory of every remediable sorrow, wrong, and trouble in the world around us, should be active with us, not less than our own experiences. Through seeing the effects of his doctrine "born bad" carried to extremes, Trotty Veck in The Chimes had repented of his misanthropy just as Scrooge, having witnessed the inevitable outcome of his continually pushing away all emotional contact, rejoins the human family, as represented by Nephew Fred and the Cratchits; so in The Haunted Man Redlaw is reintegrated by acknowledging the restorative power of memory and the emotional necessity for human warmth and the cultivation of the inner life.
Dickens had outlined this theme in his 21 November, , letter to John Forster:. To have all the best of it you must remember the worst also. Redlaw, initially a disappointed but successful man of middle-age, discovers that deprived of all memory, he has become " a man without a soul, as incapable of compassion, artistic sensitivity or spiritual understanding as the abandoned waif whose neglected short life is equally barren of memories" Glancy, "Dickens and Christmas," Only the street urchin derived from the Carol 's Ignorance and Want, but less allegorical and more insistently real , almost an animal because unaffected by any sentiment and actuated only by the Darwinian instinct for self-preservation, and the tender-hearted Milly are immune to Redlaw's touch.
In fact, owing to her own deeply-felt sorrow, Milly is unconsciously able to counteract Redlaw's malignant "gift. The dead-born child does appear in Dickens's first page of rough notes.
Is it too improbable to think of that dead child as young Charles Dickens, dead to his family in the Marshalsea, without caste and hope, working in the blacking factory? Or that the dead child represents his abortive attempt to write an autobiography? Dickens in the next decade would experience the death of a literal child himself, Dora, for whose death he felt responsible because he had made the fatal error of naming her after one of his characters the heroine of his quasi-autobiography, David Copperfield , the book he wrote immediately The Haunted Man , and thereby crossing the line between his fictional and his real children?
The theme itself revolves around Dickens's belief that memory is a softening and chastening power, that the recollection of old sufferings and old wrongs can be used to touch the heart and elicit sympathy with the sufferings of others. For it was his suffering and the memory of his sufferings which had given him the powerful sympathy of the great writer, just as his recollection of those harder days inspired him with that pity for the poor and the dispossessed which was a mark of his social writings. Marley, for example, is as much Scrooge's double as the Phantom is Redlaw's.
However, the Phantom is also a plot vehicle:. Hyde to Redlaw's Dr. Jekyll, and provides Dickens an essential and appropriate short cut in representing an internal dialogue, just as Redlaw's supernatural powers, his baneful, Midas-touch, provides an essential short cut -- essential in so short a book — for representing his influence upon others. And the boy labelled "Ignorance" in A Christmas Carol , what has he become?
He has become in The Haunted Man a clearly recognizable savage slum child. There are no labels to be seen on his ragged clothes. Edited by George Iles.
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