December 21, 2011, 3:52 pm
Alistair Sim as Scrooge; Xmas Morning
I had the great good fortune this year to write for Signet their introduction to the upcoming edition of A Christmas Carol. I’ll admit that I was surprised to learn that the book began life as a polemic nonfiction project: a pamphlet to be titled “Appeal to the People of England on behalf of the Poor Man’s Child,” written to draw attention to The Second Report (Trades and Manufactures) of the Children’s Employment Commission, by social reformer Dr. Thomas Southwood Smith.
According to Fred Guida’s A Christmas Carol and Its Adaptations, Dickens was “appalled and infuriated by its descriptions of the horrible conditions in which young children were being forced to work” and initially conceived the idea of a pamphlet as good way of drawing attention to their plight. But soon after, Dickens wrote to Smith with a change of plans,…