Charles Dickens is having writer’s block – and he’s short on money, too.
The year is 1843, and the man who wrote “The Adventures of Oliver Twist” and “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby” is struggling to come up with another hit. His newest books are getting bad reviews. His publisher even is threatening to cut him off.
“I’ve run out of ideas,” he tells a good friend.
It’s no small problem. An author without ideas is an author without a paycheck. And with several mouths to feed and another baby on the way, Dickens is feeling the pressure.
But then he gets inspired from a series of real-life events. He sees a rich man disparage a beggar. He hears about a poor man tossed into debtor’s prison. Perhaps his next novel could spotlight a cold-hearted miser who despises not only poor people, but Christmas, too. Dickens will call the character … “Scrooge”!
The Man Who Invented Christmas (PG) opens this week, telling the incredible story behind the origins of one of Dickens’ most popular books, “A Christmas Carol.” It stars Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as Dickens and Christopher Plummer (Up, The Sound of Music) as Ebenezer Scrooge.
The film gets its curious title from the impact of “A Christmas Carol” on our modern-day celebration of the holiday. The book popularized the phrase “Merry Christmas,” sparked a rise in generosity, and helped revive Christmas as an important date on the calendar. Until then, it often passed with little fanfare. (And, for the record, Jesus – not Dickens – invented Christmas.)
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