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The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain (1848)

– tekijä: Charles Dickens

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1302168,683 (3.6)10
The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain, A Fancy for Christmas-Time, is a novella by Charles Dickens first published in 1848. It is the fifth and last of Dickens's Christmas novellas, preceded by A Christmas Carol (1843), The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845) and The Battle of Life (1846). The story is more about the spirit of the holidays than about the holidays themselves, harking back to the first in the series, A Christmas Carol. The tale centres on a Professor Redlaw and those close to him. Redlaw is a teacher of chemistry who often broods over wrongs done him and grief from his past. He is haunted by a spirit, who is not so much a ghost as Redlaw's phantom twin and is "an awful likeness of himself...with his features, and his bright eyes, and his grizzled hair, and dressed in the gloomy shadow of his dress..." This spectre appears and proposes to Redlaw that he can allow him to "forget the sorrow, wrong, and trouble you have known...to cancel their remembrance..." Redlaw is hesitant at first, but finally agrees. However, before the spirit vanishes it imposes an additional consequence: "The gift that I have given you, you shall give again, go where you will." Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's most memorable fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. During his life, his works enjoyed unprecedented fame, and by the twentieth century his literary genius was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular. Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, is one of the most influential works ever written, and it remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Set in London and Paris, his 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, is the best selling novel of all time. His creative genius has been praised by fellow writers - from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell and G. K. Chesterton - for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. [Elib]… (lisätietoja)
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näyttää 2/2
This (the last of Dickens' five Christmas novellas) is also the longest and densest of the bunch, and has a return to a focus on the Christmas spirit, morality, and redemption that echo back to the best known of the bunch, A Christmas Carol. Redlaw is a lonely and sad Chemistry teacher at a lonely and sad old college tucked into the city of London. Many years ago his best friend betrayed him by marrying Redlaw's fiancée instead of Redlaw's beloved sister, as he had planned. Redlaw's sister ended up dying young and Redlaw has nursed his hurt and anger at his former friend for years. On this cold and dark Christmas eve, a phantom (who looks a lot like the haunted Redlaw) appears to him and offers to make him forget all his sorrows and wrongs. As a twist, he will also bestow this same "gift" upon anyone he encounters. Redlaw agrees but, as you might expect, soon comes to regret his decision.

Like many of these novellas, the real fun of the story is in the characters that orbit around our protagonist. In this case, we have the family of servants that keep the college and take care of the on-site faculty, as well as a large and poor but happy family who are boarding a sick student of Redlaw's. There is a lot of humor and love in the description of these characters and a willingness to sink into descriptive reveries that probably have something to do with this being the longest of the novellas. The pacing and flow on this one is a little... odd, which makes it sometimes difficult to follow the thrust of the story or get one's mind around the more philosophical parts of the text, but a little patience is well-rewarded. There is a semi-happy ending to this one, but even in that semi-happiness, this is a pretty dark tale.

It also includes one of the best and most semi-colon-laden location descriptions ever, in this paragraph about the old college where Redlaw lives and works. If this kind of writing is your jam, then add this one to your list: "His dwelling was so solitary and vault-like,—an old, retired part of an ancient endowment for students, once a brave edifice, planted in an open place, but now the obsolete whim of forgotten architects; smoke-age-and-weather-darkened, squeezed on every side by the overgrowing of the great city, and choked, like an old well, with stones and bricks; its small quadrangles, lying down in very pits formed by the streets and buildings, which, in course of time, had been constructed above its heavy chimney stalks; its old trees, insulted by the neighbouring smoke, which deigned to droop so low when it was very feeble and the weather very moody; its grass-plots, struggling with the mildewed earth to be grass, or to win any show of compromise; its silent pavements, unaccustomed to the tread of feet, and even to the observation of eyes, except when a stray face looked down from the upper world, wondering what nook it was; its sun-dial in a little bricked-up corner, where no sun had straggled for a hundred years, but where, in compensation for the sun’s neglect, the snow would lie for weeks when it lay nowhere else, and the black east wind would spin like a huge humming-top, when in all other places it was silent and still." ( )
  kristykay22 | Jan 17, 2021 |
In The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain, the last of Dickens’ Christmas novellas, Dr. Redlaw is haunted by his past; he constantly dwells on the sorrows, wrongs, and pains that others have given him. One Christmas, a ghost visits him with a gift: Redlaw’s own memories of his sorrows will be taken from him. Further, any one he touches in the coming day will likewise be unburdened by their horrible and painful memories.

Redlaw is pleased with this gift and sets out to find the poor and suffering people who he can relieve of their sorrow. But he finds that without their sorrows, people, he included, are left cold and unfeeling: people stop being charitable to each other in conversation and treatment. He seeks for a remedy to this “gift,” but the ghost is unable to give Redlaw his memories again. Only the influence of a saintly woman can restore happiness to the individuals Redlaw has touched.

I loved some of the characters in this story, especially the Tetterby family, which was delightful. The story was somewhat sad told through Redlaw’s perspective, and his story wasn’t neatly solved in the end as does A Christmas Carol, but it still was a worthwhile and meaningful story.

More reviews of Dickens Christmas novellas on my blog
2 ääni rebeccareid | Jan 6, 2009 |
näyttää 2/2
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain, A Fancy for Christmas-Time, is a novella by Charles Dickens first published in 1848. It is the fifth and last of Dickens's Christmas novellas, preceded by A Christmas Carol (1843), The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845) and The Battle of Life (1846). The story is more about the spirit of the holidays than about the holidays themselves, harking back to the first in the series, A Christmas Carol. The tale centres on a Professor Redlaw and those close to him. Redlaw is a teacher of chemistry who often broods over wrongs done him and grief from his past. He is haunted by a spirit, who is not so much a ghost as Redlaw's phantom twin and is "an awful likeness of himself...with his features, and his bright eyes, and his grizzled hair, and dressed in the gloomy shadow of his dress..." This spectre appears and proposes to Redlaw that he can allow him to "forget the sorrow, wrong, and trouble you have known...to cancel their remembrance..." Redlaw is hesitant at first, but finally agrees. However, before the spirit vanishes it imposes an additional consequence: "The gift that I have given you, you shall give again, go where you will." Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's most memorable fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. During his life, his works enjoyed unprecedented fame, and by the twentieth century his literary genius was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular. Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, is one of the most influential works ever written, and it remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Set in London and Paris, his 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, is the best selling novel of all time. His creative genius has been praised by fellow writers - from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell and G. K. Chesterton - for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. [Elib]

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