‘Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt about that…’
When a book starts by saying someone is dead and you should have no doubt about that, you know there are two choices
You’re in for a tour de force of literary genius; that the book has to be one of the greatest books ever written.
Someone thought the best way to become the Dylan Thomas of prose was to have a multiple course liquid lunch.
Now, had the book in question been called something like ‘The MuRDRous mYStry of MaRLey MANsiON’, you could justifiably been suspicious that it was the byproduct of a huge liquid lunch.
However, in this case, the book is called ‘A Christmas Carol’; and we know for a fact that it is one of the greatest books ever written.
And with a celebrated book like ‘A Christmas Carol’, you know there’s a ‘7 facts about’ kind of blog just waiting to be written.
Question is, what does that have to do The Escapement; any Escape Room in Margate; or, indeed, any Escape Room in the UK?
How is ‘7 facts about A Christmas Carol’ relevant to Escape Rooms and Escape Enthusiasts in Margate or anywhere else?
Generally speaking, trivia may not feature all that often among the puzzles in an Escape Room.
However, with Escape Rooms, you can always expect a surprise – when they pull a rabbit out of the hat.
So, as Escape Enthusiasts, we are always ready to soak up some knowledge that may help us sail through an Escape Room some day.
And, with Christmas in 2019 drawing tantalizingly close, A Christmas Carol is the appropriate book to discuss at this time.
Finally, it’s entirely appropriate that the blog of the Escape Room that was voted #1 Escape Room in all the UK feature a book that is universally acknowledged to be one of the greatest books ever written.
1 – Charles Dickens had explored a similar theme in one of his other books – The Pickwick Papers
The Pickwick Papers includes the story of Gabriel Grub, a mean and spiteful sexton, whose Christmas Eve encounter with goblins changes his outlook on life.
That, in a nutshell, is the entire story of A Christmas Carol.
2 – A fundraising speech gave birth to the idea for A Christmas Carol
In October 1843, Mr Dickens delivered a speech to raise funds for a philanthropic organization called the Manchester Athenaeum. Also present at that event were future Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and free trade champion Richard Cobden.
The event focused heavily on the ‘working poor’.
After the event, Mr Dickens went on a long walk through Manchester, which is when the idea for A Christmas Carol was born.
3 – The book was written in six weeks
Take that for efficiency!
Among the many themes in A Christmas Carol is a protest against hatred or apathy towards the poor.
Mr Dickens was so invested in that idea that once he conceived of the idea of A Christmas Carol, he wrote feverishly for 6 weeks till it was ready by end November of 1843.
It hit the bookshops on December 17th and was sold out within 3 days.
4 – When it was first published, A Christmas Carol received only one review
A literary magazine called The Knickerboker published a review of the book in 1844.
The review ended with the words ‘READ THE WORK’.
5 – It was the first – and last – book he gave public readings of
Mr Dickens’ passion for giving public readings of his books began with his 1853 reading of A Christmas Carol.
His last public reading was in 1870 – also of A Christmas Carol – three months before his demise.
And these readings weren’t dry readings.
Mr Dickens would create a prompt copy – important pages of his book torn out and placed in sequence and punctuated by acting directions – and enact his own work.
He also enacted his work in America.
You think Apple – with long lines outside its stores ahead of every new release – has a cult following?
When he was in America, people used to camp in the snow, if need be, to get tickets to his public readings.
6 – Marley was alive, to begin with
A Cornish surgeon – Dr Miles Marley – hosted a party where Mr Dickens was a guest.
Dr Marley took care to point out his rather unusual name to the famous author who is believed to have replied ‘your name is indeed an unusual one, and by the end of this year your name will be a household word’.
As an Escape Enthusiast, what do you deduce from that?
7 – The book set a very popular Christmas trend
Till that time, the more popular Christmas greeting was ‘Happy Christmas’.
In A Christmas Carol, however, the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ is the one that appears, and it quickly took Happy’s throne in popular culture.
Speaking of Mr Dickens’ public readings, Charles Dickens Presents… (A Christmas Carol) at the Theatre Royal Margate is #2 on the top 5 Christmas things to do in Margate.
This blog ends here…but the 2019 Christmas Countdown carries on!