Dante's Role in the Genesis of Dickens's A Christmas Carol (Critical Essay) - Dickens Quarterly

Dante's Role in the Genesis of Dickens's A Christmas Carol (Critical Essay)

By Dickens Quarterly

  • Release Date - Published: 2007-09-01
  • Book Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Author: Dickens Quarterly
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Dante's Role in the Genesis of Dickens's A Christmas Carol (Critical Essay) Dickens Quarterly read online review & book description:

Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol (1843), perhaps the most endearing work of English literature, may owe an inspirational debt to one of Italian literature's most cherished works, Dante's Divine Comedy (c. 1300). Although more than half a millennium separates the composition of these seemingly disparate stories, the two works exhibit striking similarities in both form and content. In structural terms, both works are chronologically framed by key Christian holidays: The Divine Comedy starts on Good Friday and ends on Easter Sunday, while A Christmas Carol commences on Christmas Eve and culminates on Christmas Day. The main divisions of The Divine Comedy are three--Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise--while A Christmas Carol likewise exhibits a tripartite structure marked by the visitations of three ghosts who represent past, present, and future. (1) These phantoms serve as spiritual guides for Scrooge on his enlightening trip through time, not unlike the way the souls of Virgil (in the Inferno and Purgatory), then Beatrice (in Purgatory and Paradise), and lastly St. Bernard (in the final stages of Paradise) sequentially lead Dante on his journey of divine revelation.

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