The Dickens you say…


Photo by Howard Gold, courtesy The Great Dickens Chrstmas Fair

2012 sees the 200th anniversary of the birth of author Charles Dickens.

Known for many works, the best loved tale told by Mister Dickens is “A Christmas Carol“. From Wikipedia:

“A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens, first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. The story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge‘s ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation resulting from supernatural visits from Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim.

The book was written and published in early Victorian era Britain, a period when there was both strong nostalgia for old Christmas traditions and an initiation of new practices such as Christmas trees and greeting cards. Dickens’s sources for the tale appear to be many and varied but are principally the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales.”

Friend Jim Hill took a look at many of the tellings of this tale in media that stir memories of Christmases past for many of us. This “Scrooge U” was an amusing look back at some favorites as well as some “undisgested bits” as the man himself might have described them.

San Francisco may seem an odd place to have a strong connection to Dickens tale. Yet since 1970, the Bay Area has been home to a bit of London as brought to life in the pages of this story. Over the years, a number of venues have taken on the spirits of the season. San Francisco’s Cow Palace has been the latest in these, with London visiting on the weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party is a wonderful way to take a break and step back into the pages of Mister Dickens work.

Okay, so these livestock barns may be more than 5000 miles away from London and many years beyond those of the early Victorian era. But to the folks who call them London during the festivities, it is as much home as the holidays can be. Everyone from the many actors to merchants in shops to guests who choose to dress in their period finery all have a wonderful time here. And if you are in for a bit of holiday cheer, then you will find your self in the right place, too.

Don’t take my word for it. Come see for yourself! With two weekends still left to enjoy the Fair, there is plenty of time to discover all of the diversions that await.

And who knows what you will discover along the way? Meet Father Christmas or encounter Ebeneezer Scrooge. All in the pursuit of the good tidings of the season.

Posted in Ruminations, Travel | Leave a comment

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