Patrick Milliman 212-590-0310
DICKENS’S ORIGINAL A CHRISTMAS CAROL ON VIEW BEGINNING
NOVEMBER 20 AT THE MORGAN LIBRARY & MUSEUM
MANUSCRIPT OF BELOVED STORY
ONE OF THE MUSEUM’S GREAT TREASURES
BOOK IS CENTERPIECE OF THE MORGAN’S HOLIDAY PROGRAMMING
AND WINTER FAMILY DAY CELEBRATION
New York, NY, November 20, 2008—Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Mr. Fezziwig, Bob Cratchit, the
Ghost of Christmas Past—in the age of film and television these characters from Charles Dickens’s A
Christmas Carol are universally familiar. The story has been told as a stage musical, a serious dramatic film,
and a modern comedy.
But, in the end, it all comes back to a magical book written by Dickens
in a six-week flurry of activity in late 1843. Greeted with universal
acclaim at the time of publication, A Christmas Carol might rightfully be
called an “instant masterpiece.” William Makepeace Thackeray called it
a “national benefit” and an American factory owner gave his workers
an extra day’s holiday when he had finished reading it.
When the manuscript was returned after printing Dickens arranged for
it to be finely bound in red morocco leather and presented it as a gift to
his solicitor. It was purchased by Pierpont Morgan in the 1890s.
Beginning on November 20, visitors to The Morgan Library &
Museum can view the original manuscript by Dickens in a special
presentation in the museum’s famed McKim Building.
The manuscript reveals the author’s method of composition: the pace of writing and revision, apparently
contiguous, is rapid and boldly confident. Revisions are inserted for vividness and immediacy of effect.
John Leech, Third Visitor or the Ghost of
Christmas Present, (detail) original watercolor
illustration for Charles Dickens's, Christmas
Carol (detail), first edition, 1843, The
Pierpont Morgan Library, purchased by
Pierpont Morgan; MA 97.
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