“A Christmas Carol” manuscript reveals Charles Dickens’ writing process

Published on December 1st, 2009 | by Admin


Charles Dickens’ heavily marked up original manuscript for “A Christmas Carol” has gone on display, shedding light on the master’s writing process.

It is an enduring mystery of English literature: What secrets lie entombed beneath the thick scribbles that Charles Dickens made as he wrote, and rewrote, the 66 pages of “A Christmas Carol” in 1843?

The manuscript of this classic holiday ghost story, written in six weeks to raise much-needed cash, is housed at the Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan, where it bears all of Dickens’s additions and subtractions in his own hand.

On page 3, he inserts “his eyes sparkled” to amplify the portrait of Scrooge’s nephew, whose beneficence is crucial to the plot.

On page 12, where Scrooge takes Marley’s ghost to be evidence not of the supernatural, but of his own indigestion, (“more of gravy than of grave,”) he converts the offending bit of food from being a “spot of mustard” to a less digestible “blot of mustard.”

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