From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Dickens's classic holiday tale, like many cultural touchstones, often falls into the trap of perennial reinterpretation. First aired in 1990 but only now available on CD, NPR's presentation serves to place the familiar story back in its historical context. NPR News anchor Susan Stamberg's introduction, along with background information in the liner notes, offers valuable insights regarding both Dickens's gritty backdrop and his role in reviving Christmas traditions otherwise forgotten amid rapid urban industrialization.
The script being performed is the same one Dickens used to use at readings. Comedy legend Winters, who serves as narrator while also performing all of the male roles, juggles his duties seamlessly and demonstrates remarkable dramatic range. His portrayal of Scrooge before the ghostly visitations evokes discernable pain and loss beyond the over-the-top antics of an ogre figure. Veteran actress Mimi Kennedy voices the female parts with gusto.
With its quality production, attractive price and one-hour length, this release offers the perfect gift and establishes a festive new annual ritual for families to share. (Sept.)
About the Author
Charles John Huffam Dickens (/ˈtʃɑrlz ˈdɪkɪnz/; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 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.
Born in Portsmouth, England, Dickens was forced to leave school to work in a factory when his father was thrown into debtors' prison. Although he had little formal education, his early impoverishment drove him to succeed. Over his career he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, education, and other social reforms.
Dickens sprang to fame with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire, and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most published in monthly or weekly instalments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication.
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