A Dickens of a Christmas

December 1, 2009

Charles Dickens left behind one, and only one, manuscript for “A Christmas Carol,” the tale he wrote in 1843 of an unfeeling rich man and the boy who pricked his conscience. Kept under lock-and-key for much of the year at the Morgan Library and Museum, the manuscript is not widely available, one reason, perhaps, why it has been all but impossible to track the many revisions Dickens made to the manuscript as he struggled to get his story right. A high-resolution copy of the manuscript’s 66 pages, which you can examine below, may finally change that.

Today’s New York Times unveils digital images of all 66 pages of Charles Dickens’ manuscript for A Christmas Carol. The images are exquisite and the manuscript itself is at the Morgan Library and Museum here in New York where only one page per year is placed on view for the public coming up to Christmas. Of particular interest in the New York Times is the capacity to move between the typed version of the book and the manuscript to compare and contrast – there are also notes to the changes made by Dickens. Altogether a fascinating project – there’s more here.

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