THE LIFE OF OUR LORD by Charles Dickens


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Dickens rivals Uriah Heep at his —umblest in this mawkish rehearsal of the Christ story. The Victorian master novelist wrote it for his children in the late 1840s, when he was composing David Copperfield, and read it aloud to them every Christmas. His handwritten manuscript was passed down after Dickens’s death in 1870 to his descendants, who also read it at Christmas and, at the author’s request, delayed publication until the last of his children died (which happened in 1933). Though a bestseller at the time, it is way down on the list of rewrites of the life of Jesus that an adult would ever care to read. (One can imagine Dickens’s grown-up sons and daughters suffering through it each Christmas.) Phrased with deliberate artlessness meant to woo children, the text pales in comparison to A Christmas Carol as a piece of holiday storytelling—not a fair comparison, perhaps, but it is fair to note its puzzling lack of any of the strengths Dickens is noted for. Well, that’s not quite true. He decorates the Resurrection with Roman soldiers fainting as the earth trembles and shakes, while an angel, whose “countenance was like lightning,” rolls away the rock sealing the tomb. Piety for mopheads.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-684-86537-8
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1999


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