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date: 16 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter seeks to eliminate some of the misunderstandings surrounding Charles Dickens’s writings for Christmas, the works he named ‘Christmas Books’ (five novellas written between 1843 and 1848) and ‘Christmas Stories’ (short pieces that were originally contained in ‘Christmas numbers’ written with other contributors for his journals Household Words and All the Year Round between 1850 and 1867). By far the best known of the Christmas writings is A Christmas Carol, and its iconic status among Dickens’s works has led to the undervaluing of his other writings for the season. The Christmas numbers are particularly important for their unique position as collaborative journalism in the mid-nineteenth century. This chapter surveys the history of the Christmas books and stories from their inception to current criticism, identifies the central issues of academic interest to date, and points to the areas that are opening up as a result of the greater accessibility of the Christmas numbers.

Keywords: Dickens, Christmas Collaboration, Household Words, All the Year Round, journalism, mid-Victorian short stories

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