Exploring Victorians

Charles Dickens | Sunday, December 16 @ 1:30 PM

The Man Behind the Carol

by Ron Robinson

 December 16th, 1:30pm

$15 | $12 Members


After six weeks of writing, Charles Dickens published his novella A Christmas Carol on December 19, 1843. Its first run of 6,000 copies sold out by Christmas Eve. While Dickens’ Christmas tale of ghosts, charity, and moral transformation became immensely popular during his lifetime, its legacy persists to this day. In fact, many Western audiences are familiar with the plot and characters of A Christmas Carol without even reading the book, and this phenomenon can be explained in part by the huge number of adaptations of the narrative since its original publication. While the full list of A Christmas Carol’s adaptations is seemingly endless, here are a few of the more popular, surprising, and intriguing versions of Dickens’ classic tale.

  •  Scrooge, or, Marley's Ghost (1901), film, UK. This short film is the earliest surviving screen adaptation.

  • Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962), animated television special.

  • A Christmas Carol (1964 to present), Glendale Theatre Centre, California. This is the longest running adaptation in theatre history.

  • A Christmas Carol (1971), film. In 1972, it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

  • A Christmas Carol (1978) Marvel Classics Comics #36.

  • Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983), animated film. It features various Disney characters as characters from the original text, including Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge and Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit.

  • A Christmas Carol (1988), Sir Patrick Stewart's one-man theatre adaptation.

  •  The Passion of Scrooge (or A Christmas Carol) (1998), Opera

  • The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), film. It features Michael Caine as Scrooge, Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, and Gonzo as Charles Dickens.

  •  A Christmas Carol: The Musical (1994), a Broadway musical adaptation with music by Alan Menken (ran at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden, New York City)

  • Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol (2010), television.

  • Thomas & FriendsDiesel's Ghostly Christmas (2016), an adaptation within the TV show Thomas the Tank Engine

Clearly, A Christmas Carol lives on in innumerable ways, from film to opera to graphic novel. So who really was Charles Dickens, besides the man behind the cultural phenomenon that is A Christmas Carol? This Sunday’s lecture on Charles Dickens will seek to answer this query. Local radio personality and friend to Dalnavert Ron Robinson will be leading a discussion on the author’s fascinating life, unpacking questions like “why did he perform until it killed him? Why did he send his wife packing and announce it in the newspapers? Why did his family not know of his poverty and shame as a child until after he was dead?” All will be revealed at our afternoon lecture, given and performed by veteran broadcaster, bookseller and great fan of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Ron Robinson.

Walt Disney

Walt Disney

Sir Patrick Stewart’s one-man theatre adaptation (playbill.com)

Sir Patrick Stewart’s one-man theatre adaptation (playbill.com)

Victorian Ghosts for Christmas

Why Ghost Stories at Christmas?

by Arlene Young

 December 2nd, 1:30pm

$15 | $12 Members

reserve@dalnavertmuseum.ca | Event page

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.

marley's ghost (1).jpg

Exploring Victorians Lecture Series 2018/19

It's back! check out our course load this 2018/19 season for topics you are interested in.