Why Ghost Stories at Christmas?
by Arlene Young
December 2nd, 1:30pm
$15 | $12 Members
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The three spirits that visited Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ famous story are not the only Christmas ghosts of the Victorian period. Victorians gathered to tell stories of the supernatural as part of their Christmas traditions. What fostered the Victorian fascination with ghosts and with exchanging ghost stories around the Christmas tree?
The ghosts of this presentation are not all disembodied Christmas spirits, but include memories, customs, and traces of the past—our personal pasts, our cultural pasts, and our historical pasts, all of which fuse to form the traditions that mean Christmas to each of us. Where do all our holiday customs come from? What is the special contribution of Victorian traditions to the way we celebrate and think about Christmas and the Christmas spirit? How did Charles Dickens celebrate Christmas? How did the highly intellectual George Eliot celebrate? And what about cranky Jane and Thomas Carlyle? Join us to explore answers to some and perhaps all of these questions.