Interest in supernatural phenomena was high during Charles Dickens' lifetime. He had always loved a good ghost story himself, particularly at Christmas time, and was open-minded, willing to accept, and indeed put to the test, the existence of spirits. His natural inclination toward drama and the macabre made him a brilliant teller of ghost tales, and in the twelve stories presented here, which include his celebrated A Christmas Carol, the full range of his gothic talents can be seen. Chilling as some of these stories are, Dickens has managed to inject characteristically grotesque comedy as he writes of revenge, insanity, pre-cognition and dream visions, he indulges also in some debunking of contemporary credulity.
Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812–1870), who also wrote under the pen name "Boz", was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era. He was a vigorous social campaigner, both in his own personal endeavours as well as through the recurrent themes of his literary enterprise.
Critics George Gissing and G. K. Chesterton championed Dickens's mastery of prose, his endless invention of unique, clever personalities, and his powerful social sensibilities, but fellow writers such as George Henry Lewes, Henry James, and Virginia Woolf faulted his work for sentimentality, implausible occurrences, and grotesque characterizations.
The popularity of Dickens's novels and short stories has meant that they have never gone ... (more)