A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas, commonly known as A Christmas Carol, is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in London by Chapman & Hall in 1843. A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.
Few of the many interpretations of Dickens's holiday parable can match this handsome edition for atmosphere, mood and sheer elegance. Innocenti's full-page watercolors are striking, full-bodied evocations of 19th-century London, particularly the life and vigor of the city's streets: merchants sell their wares, urchins tumble and play, the gentry ride in their carriages, and the destitute huddle in doorways and keep warm at makeshift stoves. At the same time, the paintings' realism, dramatic intensity, occasional luminosity and almost microscopic observation of detail strongly recall the exquisite art of the Italian Renaissance. Their stateliness is carried through in the book's design: each page of text is boxed with fine sepia rules, overlaid with a delicate, gradually fading wash, and topped by a single, modest ornament. The effect suggests an old manuscript or parchment--one that, every so often, opens a splendid pictorial window on the world of this classic narrative. For all its elegance, however, this is a somber and unsentimental view of Dickens's world. The beautiful and the sordid, the good and the malevolent, are never far apart--a concept that is powerfully suggested through the frequent use of high, oddly angled perspectives, as if readers, along with Scrooge and the spirits, are privy to telling glimpses of life skimmed from above. All ages.