Dickens and the Creation of A Christmas Carol — While I was on the plane flying back from a conference at Oxford University earlier this month, I watched a film that was perfectly suited for the season. Titled The Man Who Invented Christmas, this 2017 film tells the story of how Charles Dickens came to write A Christmas Carol. The film stars Dan Stevens as Dickens and Christopher Plummer as Ebenezer Scrooge.
In the film, Dickens moves among three overlapping worlds. Part of the film deals with his day-to-day life as an author, which involves interactions with family members, friends, and business associates. Another part of the film dramatizes his interior world, which is where he interacts with his fictional characters, especially Scrooge. A third part deals with his stressful childhood, which is at the root of an ongoing tension between Dickens and his father. The director, Bharat Nalluri, brings these three worlds together, culminating in the publication of A Christmas Carol on December 19, 1843.
For me, this film brought up memories from my own childhood. My father was a great admirer of Dickens, and he often read Dickens’s books aloud to my brother, sister, and me during the evenings after we finished our homework. For many years, he read A Christmas Carol to us on Christmas Eve. While I was watching The Man Who Invented Christmas, I kept flashing back to my treasured memories of sitting on the couch in our living room, listening to the magic combination of Dickens’s words and my father’s voice. The film ends with Dickens’s reconciliation with his father, and this ending made me miss my father. As the credits started to roll, I silently thanked my lucky stars that Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol and that my Jewish father introduced to me to this classic story.
I wish you all the best for the holiday season.
Kudos — As you know, I like to use my Monday Missives to share news about recent accomplishments by members of the English Department. Here is the latest news:
Alan Rauch recently received a Helm Fellowship from the Lilly Library for a research project titled “Women, Science, and Translation in the Nineteenth Century.”
Ralf Thiede just received a contract from Routledge for a book tentatively titled Language, Mind, and Power: Why We Need Linguistic Equality. Dan Boisvert is the co-author of this book.
Upcoming Events and Meetings — Here is a list of upcoming events and deadlines:
January 9 — First day of classes for the Spring 2019 semester.
January 16 — Last day for students to add or drop a course with no grade.
January 29 — The Personally Speaking presentation featuring Janaka Bowman Lewis will take place on Tuesday, January 29, 2019, at UNC Charlotte Center City. Janaka’s presentation on her book Freedom Narratives of African American Women will begin at 6:30 p.m. A book signing and reception will follow her presentation. For more information and to RSVP, please click on the following link: https://exchange.uncc.edu/how-early-womens-writings-led-to-civil-rights-discourse/
Quirky Quiz Question — The film The Man Who Invented Christmas opens in 1842 with Charles Dickens touring a foreign country. What country is he touring?
Last week’s answer: Oakland
As far as I know, this winter’s commencement marked the first time that our graduating students did “The Wave.” In sports circles, however, there is a great deal of debate about when “The Wave” made its first appearance. The first documented example of sports fans doing “The Wave” occurred on October 15, 1981, during a baseball playoff game between the Athletics and the Yankees. What is the name of the city where the Athletics play?