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This Christmas classic was first published 180 years ago today

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – When you think about movies and television programs that are universally Christmas, what do you think of?

Is it a movie about a man who learns what it would be like if he were never born, or a little boy’s pursuit of a BB gun? Is it a movie about a little girl learning Santa is real, a boy accidentally left behind by his family when they go on a trip, or a man who becomes Santa Claus?

All of those are certainly iconic Christmas stories, along with many others. However, there’s one story older than them all, that has spawned more versions of itself and inspired countless other similar stories.

On December 19, 1843, Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” was first published. It was an instant best-seller, with every single copy selling out by Christmas Eve that year.

Its full title is actually “A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.” Not only was it incredibly popular, but it’s credited with helping to “save Christmas.”

By the time it was published The Enlightenment had happened and the Industrial Revolution was in full swing. The Puritan movement and Oliver Cromwell had pretty much eliminated the majority of traditions surrounding Christmas, so while the holiday was recognized, the level of celebration surrounding it was minimal.

The work of American author Washington Irving and Dickens “A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas” brought the holiday back into popular celebration in England. Dickens’s book also became a sensation in America where he toured giving readings of his now classic work.

Since the invention of film, there have been over 100 adaptations of “A Christmas Carol.” That’s not even mentioning the number of television shows that featured an episode drawing inspiration from the story.

Dickens died in 1870 and his works entered the Public Domain 70 years later in 1940. Even now, 180 years later, it is still in publication and inspiring new adaptations.

If you’ve never read the story the Library of Congress has a scan of a rare 1911 print of the book in PDF format you can download and read for yourself by clicking here.

Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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