No. 1, Spring, 1997, pp. 51-66. [In the following essay, Erickson provides a Keynesian economic interpretation of Dickens's novella.] In the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge's character and in the very appearance and production of A Christmas Carol as a Christmas gift book, we can see Dickens's understanding of the psychological basis of economic activity and his intuitive solutions both to the financial depression that gripped England in 1843 and also to the specter of bankruptcy that loomed over him when his readers could no longer afford to buy his novels in numbers as large as before. By seeing both the psychology of Scrooge and also the physical form of A Christmas Carol in terms of Keynesian economic principles and in the larger context of early Victorian economic history, we can understand them as aesthetic responses to the depressed English economy of 1843 that seek to fulfill in themselves both the author's and the audience's wishes for a more prosperous future. The simple, traditional interpretation of Scrooge has been that he is a sad, selfish, avaricious miser who is graced by visions of the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come and so converted into a joyous, generous celebrator of Christmas.‘ In adding to our understanding of Scrooge, I will show first that from a Keynesian point of view, Scrooge is a hoarder, in the economic sense of someone who has a strong preference for maximum financial liquidity.2 Further, I will demonstrate how Scrooge's hoarding is the manifestation of fear about the financial future, something which results in an obsession with maintaining almost complete liquidity, an economic phenomenon occurring particularly in deflationary times like those of the early 1840s. Finally, I will suggest that from a Keynesian perspective Dickens intuitively and rightly diagnoses the general psychological ailment of the economic depression of Christmas 1843 which had been created by an economic and political policy informed by Malthusian principles regarding both population and the political economy.3 Dickens, in effect, correctly prescribes not so much charity to the poor as greatly increased, indeed extravagant, consumer spending as the way back to Tiny Tim's health, the English economy's soundness, and Dickens's own financial well-being. Although Dickens is instinctively advocating Keynesian economic action for desperate economic times, he is urging acts of personal goodwill and fellow feeling rather than the government program of large fiscal stimulus for which Keynes argues, and so I have called the Dickensian economics of A Christmas Carol "primitive Keynesianism." I Dickens's description of Scrooge bespeaks distasteful personal experience with money-lenders. We know from the first pages that Scrooge is the most cold-hearted of pennypinchers: "Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone. Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster" (8). Further, although Scrooge has inherited a fortune as Jacob Marley's business partner and sole surviving heir, he is still living in Marley's old chambers in a building where all the other rooms are being rented as commercial offices and where a wine merchant has stored his casks in the cellars. Scrooge has changed nothing about the rooms, added nothing to them, and spends almost nothing on his own creature comforts. He has only a low fire for himself on a bitter winter night and takes only gruel for his cold. Further, as we later discover, his scavenged belongings would bring only a few odd shillings and pence from the rag-and-bone shop man. Indeed, although Scrooge is a rich man, he has spent almost nothing of his wealth but instead apparently has hoarded his money as liquid capital for his firm, which has a place on the Royal Exchange and evidently handles foreign exchange and discounts bills. That is, he deals in private and commercial credit. His financial practice is represented by the "cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deads, and heavy purses wrought in steel" that weigh down old Marley's Ghost (17), and which the Ghost says are also weighing down Scrooge. To remain financially sound, Scrooge has remained extremely liquid so as to have cash and to meet any bill presented to him for immediate payment. However, as John Maynard Keynes remarks in his General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, "of the maxims of orthodox finance none, surely, is more anti-social than the fetish of liquidity" (155). The worst thing an individual can do in financial crises and the thing that, according to Keynes, has the most "disastrous, cumulative, and far-reaching repercussions" is not to spend one's income on either investment or consumption (161), but to hoard it, as Scrooge has done, under lock and key. As Scrooge's fiancee Belle rightly points out, the psychological motivation for Scrooge's economic behavior is fear. In releasing him from their engagement, she tells him that "You fear the world too much" and that "All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach" (34). In particular, Scrooge worries about losing his reputation for being a financially sound business man. In this regard, like others of his time, Scrooge feared not just the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come but the financial future, which seemed likely in the deflationary moment of December 1843 to be very bleak. On Tuesday, December 19, 1843, the day that A Christmas Carol appeared, the three-percent consols (the rough equivalent of modern long-term American treasury bonds) were trading to yield a little more than 3.1 percent as Homer graphically shows (Figure 1), as the price of the bond had reached a record high and bonds were trading almost at par value.‘ In fact, as the financial market report of the London Times that day observes, "Consols were done . . at a figure not before known by even the oldest brokers in the house. However, such is the abundance of money, that no very serious reaction is expected without some great political crisis should intervene" (3).5 The prices on the most secure debt were rising even when commodity prices were falling because of over-production and a lack of demand. In this financial environment one can see the extreme preference for liquidity that Keynes first described and that occurs in financial depressions as people spend less and less of what they have because they fear that the economy will get even worse. As shown graphically in figure 2, at the end of 1843 the prices of goods in England had been falling for the past four years and had fallen during that time a total of 22.72 percent (Silberling 233).6 During this period, the rate of deflation had thus been 5.68 percent a year; and, in particular, retrospective price indexes show that prices had fallen and the purchasing power of a pound had risen by five-and-a-half percent from the end of 1842 to the end of 1843 (Silberling 233).‘ As a consequence, those with income in excess of their needs were spending no more at present than they had to spend, since they expected that tomorrow their pounds would likely buy more. Further, demand for borrowed money was historically low as seen in figure 1, since most businessmen feared that they would not only have to pay back their debts in more valuable pounds but also that the demand for goods would continue to decline and reduce the return on any new investment. For, as Keynes says, "after the rate of interest has fallen to a certain level, liquidity-preference may become virtually absolute in the sense that almost everyone prefers cash to holding a debt which yields so low a rate of interest" (207). Business confidence was low in 1843, since even with plenty of money available to borrow, few who were creditworthy wanted to borrow. Scrooge is not just an avaricious man who lacks fellow feeling and says "Humbug!" to everything. He is also an unhappy hoarder who fears that every bill of the last year in his books will be "presented dead against" him (10). He is not so much "a personification of economic man,"‘ as he is a businessman who believes business is bad and going to get worse. In this respect, Scrooge's nephew Fred thinks of him in the Christmas game of "Yes and No" appropriately as an animal, a live animal, rather a disagreeable animal, a savage animal, an animal that growled and grunted sometimes, and talked sometimes, and lived in London, and walked about the streets, and wasn't made a show of, and wasn't led by anybody, and didn't live in a menagerie, and was never killed in a market, and was not a horse, or an ass, or a cow, or a bull, or a tiger, or a dog, or a pig, or a cat, or a bear. (55) Although the plump sister correctly identifies this creature as "your Uncle Scro-o-o-o-oge," others at the party rightly object that the answer to the question about the bear ought to have been "yes" (55). After all, in the financial world's sense of the word (which the context suggests Dickens playfully has in mind), Scrooge is a bear on the future and by being so has never "been killed in the market." By thinking that things will get worse, he has profited in the declining market that has prevailed since Marley's death seven years before on Christmas Eve, in 1836.‘ Indeed, his constant discovery that every pleasant thing is "Humbug" represents his immediate discounting of any present pleasure against future pain. This general fear of the future felt by the English financial markets in 1843, and especially by Scrooge, is symbolically transmuted by the Ghost of Jacob Marley and the Spirits of Christmas, who, like the Fates, offer progressively more frightening consequences of not spending one's money and who allow Scrooge to imagine a fate worse than his own bankruptcy and death. In this atmosphere of business pessimism, there were more goods being produced than there was effective demand to consume those goods. As the Spirit of Christmas Present shows Scrooge, the stores and shops are overflowing with good things to eat on Christmas Day: The poulterers’ shops were still half open, and the fruiterers’ were radiant in their glory. There were great. round, pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts, shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen, lolling at the doors, and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence. There were ruddy, brown-faced, broad-girthed Spanish Onions, shining in the fatness of their growth like Spanish Friars, and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by. and glanced demurely at the hung-up mistletoe. There were pears and apples, clustered high in blooming pyramids: there were bunches of grapes, made in the shopkeepers’ benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks, that people's mouths might water gratis as they passed: there were piles of filberts, mossy and brown, recalling in their fragrance, ancient walks among the woods, and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through withered leaves: there were Norfolk Biffins, squab and swarthy, setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons, and, in the great compactness of their juicy persons, urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner. (41) The very amplification of Dickens's catalogue attests to the abundance available, even begging, to be consumed. Indeed, the English were ironically in the midst of a Malthusian glut or what Carlyle, writing in Past and Present also in 1843, accurately identified as "overproduction" (170-74). And, of course, when Scrooge awakens from his visions on Christmas Day, the large prize turkey is still hanging in the local poulterer's shop and has not yet been purchased by anyone. However, as we are shown by the Spirit of Christmas Present, the Cratchits, who have only Mr. Cratchit's fifteen shillings a week and the prospect of a position paying five shillings sixpence a week for the young Master Peter Cratchit, must make do at their Christmas dinner with a greasy goose "eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes," a small pudding "like a speckled cannonball," followed by apples and oranges and "a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire" (46-7). In contrast, at the Fezziwig's ball the Christmas festivities feature cake, negus, "a great piece of Cold Roast," another "great piece of Cold Boiled," mince-pies. and "plenty of beer" (32). These are said by the Spirit of Christmas Past to have cost "but a few pounds of your mortal money: three or four perhaps" (33). If four pounds is nearer the truth, the modest expense of such a ball lasting only one night would have cost Bob Cratchit almost a month and a half of his wages. If the Bob Cratchits of England cannot possibly afford to buy the prize turkeys in the local shops, those with income like Scrooge can. For this reason, A Christmas Carol in both its message and its physical appearance as a book was aimed at wealthy readers and sought to create an atmosphere of cheerful consumption. As Keynes remarks, in his proposal for curing the crises of confidence which afflict the economic life of the modem world, "a large proportion of our positive activities depend on spontaneous optimism rather than mathematical expectation, whether moral or hedonistic or economic" (161). Scrooge obviously is in accord with Keynes's thinking, for as he wakes up from the visitation of the Christmas Spirits (and I can't help but think here of Alastair Sim playing the role in the 1951 film, A Christmas Carol’), he declares, "I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am merry as a schoolboy. I am giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!" (71)." Scrooge's transformation is also signalled by the bubbling over of his sudden access of good humor after he has impulsively and extravagantly spent his money and has ordered the cab to Camden Town: "The chuckle with which he said this, and the chuckle with which he paid for the Turkey, and the chuckle with which he recompensed the boy, were only to be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down breathless in his chair again, and chuckled till he cried" (73). It is certainly the impulsive, spontaneous character of Scrooge's new beneficence that Dickens emphasizes. II Dickens explicitly counters the gloomy Malthusianism that had previously informed Scrooge's first response to the gentlemen raising charitable donations: "If they would rather die . . . they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population" (12). Dickens's vision of the Cratchits’ Christmas dinner imagines a humanity quite different from the one portrayed in the following extraordinary and controversial passage from the 1803 edition of Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population: A man who is born into a world already possessed, if he cannot get subsistence from his parents, on whom he has a just demand, and if the society do not want his labour, has no claim of right to the smallest portion of food, and, in fact, has no business to be where he is. At nature's mighty feast there is no vacant cover for him. She tells him to be gone, and will quickly execute her own orders, if he do not work upon the compassion of some of her guests. If these guests get up and make room for him, other intruders immediately appear demanding the same favour. The report of a provision for all that come, fills the hall with numerous claimants. The order and harmony of the feast is disturbed; the plenty that before reigned is changed into scarcity; and the happiness of the guests is destroyed by the spectacle of misery and dependence in every part of the hall, and by the clamorous importunity of those, who are justly enraged at not finding the provision which they had been taught to expect. The guests learn too late their error, in counteracting those strict orders against all intruders, issued by the great mistress of the feast, who, wishing that her guests should have plenty, and knowing that she could not provide for unlimited numbers, humanely refused to admit fresh comers when her table was already full. (531)12 Such a remorselessly self-righteous vision has no place for those like Tiny Tim, who is a "fresh comer" at a full table and who is likely, as the Spirit of Christmas Present tells Scrooge, to be hurried away to the grave. In just this spirit, William Bridges Adams, a noted railway inventor, reviewing Henry Hengist Home's New Spirt of the Age (1844) for the Westminster Review, sneered in passing at Dickens's Christmas Carol: A great part of the enjoyments of life are summed up in eating and drinking at the cost of munificent patrons of the poor; so that we might almost suppose the feudal times were returned. The processes whereby poor men are to be enabled to earn good wages, wherewith to buy turkeys for themselves, does not enter into the account; indeed, it would quite spoil the denouement and all the generosity. Who went without turkey and punch in order that Bob Cratchit might get them-for, unless there were turkey and punch in surplus, some one must go without-is a disagreeable reflection kept wholly out of sight. (376)13 Adams explicitly recalls Malthus's logic that for every person eating there must be someone starving and that the demand for goods far outstrips both the supply of those goods and the ability to pay for them. Further, as a skeptical representative of the dismal science of political economy, Adams clearly cannot imagine that either turkeys or punch could ever exist in surplus or that consumer demand might ever be in need of stimulation. Ironically, in Dickens's world everyone is potentially a beggar at "nature's mighty feast," for even Scrooge finds that he must ask to be admitted to his nephew's Christmas dinner. Scrooge, who felt that the prisons, Union workhouses, Treadmill, and Poor Law furnished sufficient "Christmas cheer of mind or body to the multitude" (12), is soon lectured to by the Ghost of Christmas Present about his own possible worthlessness in heavenly eyes: "Man," said the Ghost, "if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man's child. Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!" (47) The man with more money is cautioned against thinking of himself as much more than "the Insect on the leaf," which fortunately has food and by pure chance lives above "his hungry brothers in the dust." To think that one's good fortune somehow gives one the right to decide whether someone else has the right to live or die is to Dickens obviously morally wrong. III Victorian readers and hearers of A Christmas Carol found irresistible its message to eat well at Christmas and to invite others to do so. Perhaps the best-known reaction to A Christmas Carol is that of Thomas Carlyle. Jane Welsh Carlyle, in a letter to Jeannie Welsh of December 28, 1843, tells how after her husband had read the presentation copy that Dickens had sent him earlier in December, he was inspired to hold a series of dinners: A huge boxful of dead animals from the Welshman [Mr. Redwood] arriving late on Saturday night together with the visions of Scrooge-had so worked on Carlyles nervous organization that he has been seized with a perfect convulsion of hospitality, and has actually insisted on improvising two dinner parties with only a day between-Now the improvisation of dinner parties is all very well for the parties who eat them, simply, but for those who have to organize them and help to cook them c'est autre chose ma chere! I do not remember that I have ever sustained a moment of greater embarrassment in life than yesterday when Helen [her cook] suggested to me that "I had better stuff the Turkey-as she had forgotten all about it"! I had never known "about it"! (17: 219) But rather than admit her ignorance to her servant, Mrs. Carlyle then triumphantly recalls her success: "I proceeded to stuff the Turkey. . . . ‘Fortune favors the brave’-the stuffing proved pleasanter to the taste than any stuffing I ever remember to have eaten-perhaps it was made with quite new ingredients!-I do not know!" (17:219). Perhaps thinking of Carlyle, Thackeray, at the end of his February 1844 review in Fraser's Magazine of A Christmas Carol, comments on the story's effect upon its readers: A Scotch philosopher, who nationally does not keep Christmas-day, on reading the book, sent out for a turkey, and asked two friends to dine-this is a fact! Had the book appeared a fortnight earlier, all the prize cattle would have been gobbled up in pure love and friendship, Epping denuded of sausages, and not a turkey left in Norfolk. His royal highness's fat stock would have fetched unheard-of prices, and Alderman Bannister would have been tired of slaying. But there is a Christmas for 1844, too; the book will be as early then as now, and so let speculators look out. (169)14 There is also an especially touching instance of a New England manufacturer who, after hearing Dickens read the story in Boston on Christmas Eve in 1867, gave his employees the next day off and beginning the next year gave all his employees a Christmas turkey.‘s No doubt, many others were similarly inspired. What matters from the Keynesian perspective, however, is not so much Scrooge's new-found generosity to the gentleman who had solicited him earlier on behalf of the poor but his extravagance in spending his own money. Not only does he have the little fellow standing outside his window fetch the poulterer's man with the prize turkey but he also promises him half a crown if he returns with the man in five minutes. Scrooge is suddenly willing to pay two and a half shillings to a boy for five minutes’ work, which is what Bob Cratchit, working six days a week, was paid for a whole day's labor. On top of that, Scrooge is eager to send the poulterer's man with the turkey by cab to Camden Town, more than five miles from the City of London, in order to deliver the turkey to the Cratchit family. So, while we don't learn how much Bob Cratchit's new, increased salary will be. we do recognize that Scrooge is quickly learning how to take pleasure in spending his money and is doing so in high style. IV I will refrain from further pleasant stories about purchasing turkeys for Christmas and return to A Christmas Carol itself. In early 1843 the sales of Martin Chuzzlewit were averaging only about 20,000 copies a number, and none rose above 23,000 (Forster 302).16 This was in sharp contrast to the 50,000 copies a number that Nicholas Nickleby had sold at its peak in the much better economic times from 1838 to 1839 (Forster 302).‘ As his letters of 1843 indicate, Dickens had expected better sales and more income from Martin Chuzzlewit. so he was greatly disappointed, especially since his lavish habits of expense had not changed and since his father was pressing him to pay the older man's debts." Dickens was so pressed for money in October 1843 that, in the midst of writing for his ongoing serial," he conceived of the story for A Christmas Carol at once as a complete whole,2’ and thought of the volume as a Christmas gift book, dashed it off in six weeks. He finished it just in time for publication on December 19th, less than a week before Christmas. In fact, in early December, before publication, Dickens was already anticipating the income from the story and with its profits planning to cover the existing overdraft in his account with his banker.2’ Swept up in the emotions of his story, Dickens evidently thought that A Christmas Carol would be an extraordinary and immediate publishing success, even though he had never published any work of his before as a Christmas gift book. So, instead of agreeing to a specified advance against the sales of a certain number of copies, Dickens had Chapman and Hall publish the work on a commission of fifteen percent of the total receipts over and above their printing costs and hoped to make a huge profit. He also insisted upon the modest price of five shillings (Waugh 36), when typical illustrated Christmas gift books sold for ten to twelve shillings. With the prospect of great profits near at hand because of the terms of publication, Dickens paid especially great care to the work's production, choosing the endpaper color and the color of the title-page ink, and deciding to have four engravings done by John Leech handcolored (the frontispiece of Mr. Fezziwig's Ball, Marley's Ghost, The Second of the Three Spirits, and The Last of the Spirits)." Leech objected to the hand coloring of his engravings; and Daniel Maclise thought them the "very climax of vulgarity."23 Dickens wanted green endpapers but had to settle for yellow ones, and had planned red and green ink for the title page but had to reconcile himself to red and blue when the green ink turned out to be "as festive as a stale olive" (Calhoun and Heaney 298). As described by Michael Sadleir, the volume was sumptuously printed and produced, having "Brown-salmon fine-ribbed cloth, blocked in blind and gold on front; in gold on spine; in blind on back. Yellow end-papers. All edges gilt .. . Title printed in red and blue" (1:104).24 Especially because of its four hand-colored engravings in the first editions, the volume was a great bargain for its buyers at only five shillings. Commenting on the book's appearance, the reviewer of the New Monthly Magazine observed, "We have no objection to its gilt leaves, and its genteel typography; but these form a chevaux-de-frise about it that keeps it from the poor" (149). However much interested some readers were in having the poor take care of themselves, and however much they thought that the story would encourage them to do so, both the production values and the story's message were really aimed (albeit somewhat unconsciously) at the well-to-do, who were almost the only ones who could afford to buy books in December 1843. Their selfish hoarding and reluctance to spend their money were implicitly taking food from the mouth of Tiny Tim; and in this way, unlike most of Dickens's fictions, it was written for a wealthy, not a wide, popular audience. At the same time, the effort to appeal to them cost Dickens dearly, since the return on the first 6,000 copies was at first only £137 when he had been hoping for a thousand (Patten, Charles Dickens and His Publishers 148-150).25 But to have made the thousand pounds that he was expecting after Chapman and Hall's commission, Dickens would have had to set the price of A Christmas Carol at ten shillings. And to add further injury to his bad business judgment, pirates had been quickly attracted to the lavishly produced book and had issued a two-penny condensation of the first half of A Christmas Ghost Story in Number 16 of Parley's Illuminated Library; although Dickens quickly obtained a court judgment against each of the five defendants, doing so cost him £700 (Patten, Charles Dickens and His Publishers 147-8). Indeed, The Chimes, Dickens's next Christmas book published in 1844 and also costing five shillings, had sold 20,000 copies by the middle of April 1845 and had made a profit of more than £1,400, while A Christmas Carol in a little more than a year and after two Christmases had only sold 15,000 copies and had made only £726.26 Dickens's disappointment with the initial sales of A Christmas Carol, then, resulted from his not understanding exactly whom he was addressing in his story of Scrooge's transformation and in not realizing, as Chapman and Hall did in printing only 6,000 copies at first, that the readership for this work was likely to be smaller than the one for his shilling numbers. In some sense Dickens had obviously hoped to make popular in A Christmas Carol the kind of public sentiment which informed both his toast on May 6, 1843, at the second annual dinner of the Hospital for Consumption and Diseases of the Chest and also his speech at the first annual Soiree of the Athenaeum in Manchester that was held at the Free Trade Hall there on October 5, 1843, both of which were given for wealthy supporters of charitable causes. At the hospital, he is reported as having said, Remembering that the classes of suffering which the charity purposed to alleviate were of all others peculiarly the growth and produce of the country; that they were often the inheritance of the youngest, fairest, best amongst us, that they deprived fair England of those whom it could least afford to lose, struck down the objects of our dearest hopes when in their youthful prime, and when it was hardest to lose them-remembering these things who could doubt that such a charity must be munificently endowed? (Speeches 40-41) And later in defending the education of the poor at the Free Trade Hall, Dickens said, "Understanding that the relations between himself [the working man] and his employers involve a mutual duty and responsibility, he will discharge his part of the implied contract cheerfully, faithfully, and honourably; for the history of every useful life warns him to shape his course in that direction" (Speeches 49)." A Christmas Carol shows that if an employee like Bob Cratchit is a cheerful, faithful, and honorable fellow, then an employer like Ebenezer Scrooge also has a "duty and responsibility," perhaps not so much to supply him with "a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop" (76) but certainly to keep him warm at work and to pay him enough to keep his family alive at home. As others have shown, what really made A Christmas Carol part of popular culture were Dickens's dramatic readings of it.2’ To the extent that Dickens later embodied a transformed spirit of generosity on the stage, he also left the fears of futurity in 1843 behind. Nonetheless, of the Victorian works published in 1843 that still have much currency today, we can easily see how Dickens's Christmas Carol is better and more profound than Carlyle's Past and Present, the latter gloomily holding up the authoritarian ways of the feudal past as a solution to hard times and the former transforming an intuitive Keynesian knowledge that in the long run we are all dead into good reasons for enjoying and sharing life now instead of making rainy days by saving. So, although it has long been easy to think of Scrooge simply as a transformed, blessed sinner, readers of Dickens need to realize that Scrooge lives today as a primitive Keynesian consumer, to learn to enjoy spending what they have while they can, and, like good Victorian readers, to buy that prize turkey for Christmas! Notes 1. Philip Collins has been the most devoted of the story's commentators, having edited both an annotated facsimile of Dickens's prompt copy, A Christmas Carol (1971), and also the standard edition of that performance text in The Public Readings 1-33. See also his "Carol Philosophy, Cheerful Views," and his summary of his views, "The Reception and Status of the Carol," in the Dickensian's special issue celebrating the 150th anniversary. On the secularization of Christmas in the story, see Pittman. On Dickens's good humor and puns in the tale, see Slater. The wholesale appropriation of the story by popular culture is lovingly detailed by Davis. 2. As Keynes notes, "The concept of hoarding may be regarded as a first approximation to the concept of liquidity-preference" (174). 3. House has pointed out that, even without having read Malthus, Dickens was implicitly attacking the morality of the Malthusian principles underlying the application of the Poor Laws (71-76). See also the view of the unreformed Scrooge as an advocate of Malthus in Davis (180-86). 4. As Homer points out, most of the outstanding government debt was in three-percent consols which had been sold originally during the Napoleonic Wars at large discounts to par and yielded at issue more than five percent (190). When they sold or had their consols redeemed, long-term holders of English government debt often made as much or more from capital appreciation as from interest payments, because interest rates fell steadily for the thirty years after Waterloo. 5. As Figure 1, taken from Homer, shows (193), interest rates on government debt were to fall to three percent in 1844, a rate that had not been seen since the 1750s, which was before England had inaugurated the Industrial Revolution. For a macroeconomic overview of the Victorian economy from 1830 to 1900, see Crouzet, Part I. 6. Figure 2 is Silberling's graphic representation of a numerical table (230-31), which shows the final quarter of 1839 with a relative price index value of 110 and the final quarter of 1839 with a value of 85, the rate of decline over the four years being calculated by dividing 110 into the difference of 25. 7. Silberling's table shows the final quarter of 1842 with a relative price index value of 90 and the final quarter of 1843 with a value of 85, the rate of decline over the four years being calculated by dividing 90 into the difference of 5. 8. Johnson thinks of this "economic man" as one "who never performed any action except at the dictates of monetary gain" (1: 485). 9. The connection between Marley's death and the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign is probably deliberate on Dickens's part. 10. As Davis points out, this film's almost Freudian analysis of Scrooge stresses his fearfulness and portrays him as being "vulnerable, troubled, and insecure" (189). See also the view of Scrooge as a disturbed anal retentive in Steig. 11. The allegorical character of Scrooge's conversion has long been criticized as being unrealistic; and conversely (and often perversely), it has been defended in increasingly elaborate ontological, psychological, and epistemological models. Wilson asserts of Scrooge that "Unquestionably he would relapse when the merriment is over-if not while it was still going on-into moroseness, vindictiveness, suspicion. He would . . . reveal himself as the victim of a manic-depressive cycle, and a very uncomfortable person" (64). Insisting upon Scrooge's conversion as essentially Christian, Patten declares that the story "relates Past, Present, and Future, literal, tropological, allegorical, and anagogical, into an ever-present, incarnated Christian unity" ("Dickens Time and Again" 196). To restore the story to respectability in terms of an existential psychology, Gilbert thinks of Scrooge as returning "to the state of metaphysical innocence from which he started" (29). And recently, in a remarkable reflection of current epistemological rhetoric, Jaffe sees the story as "a model of socialization through spectatorship" in which "the narrative posits the visual as a means toward recapturing one's lost or alienated self and becoming one's best self’ (255). 12. See Davis's commentary on this passage (184-85). In fairness to Malthus, it should be noted that he omitted the passage on "nature's mighty feast" in subsequent editions, though opponents like Godwin in their determined refutations of Malthus would not let him forget that he had once written it (Godwin 552-54). 13. For the attribution, see The Wellesley Index 3: 601. There is a long tradition that mistakenly attributes the review to the noted economist Nassau Senior, based on the initials N. U. S., which are an abbreviation of one of Adams's pseudonyms. But comments on Dickens's response to this review in The Chimes, his next Christmas book (Butt 138). 14. Carlyle evidently later felt embarrassed by his uncharacteristic response to Dickens's story, since he is recorded as later saying the following in objection to Dickens's ideas: "His theory of life was entirely wrong. He thought men ought to be buttered up, and the world made soft and accommodating for them, and all sorts of fellows have turkey for their Christmas dinner" (Duffy 75). 15. Related by Storey 120-21; quoted by Collins in Dickens, A Christmas Carol: The Public Reading Version 205-6. 16. The crisis in sales caused Dickens to send Martin Chuzzlewit to America in hopes of stimulating greater reader interest. 17. See also Patten, Charles Dickens and His Publishers 93 and 99. 18. On the disappointing sales, see his letter to Chapman and Hall, March 2, 1843, Letters 3: 450; on his father's bills, see his letter to Thomas Mitton, November 25, 1843, Letters 3: 601-2. 19. Note, for instance, Dickens's attempt to free himself from debt by securing a loan from Charles Smithson, rather than accept money from Bradbury and Evans, in his letter to Smithson, November 14, 1843, Letters 3: 598. 20. Butt persuasively argues that Dickens's financial crisis makes him plan his plots for the first time and that A Christmas Carol and his other "Christmas experiments" mark a significant period in Dickens's development as a novelist that is necessary for the magnificent architectonics of his later major novels and particularly of Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend (136-48). 21. Letter to Thomas Mitton, December 4, 1843, Letters 3: 604. 22. Largely because of Dickens's intervention and lastminute changes, bibliographers have had to work hard to sort out the states of the published text. See Calhoun and Heaney, Gimbel, and Patten, Dickens and His Publishers 145-46. 23. Dickens defended the hand-coloring in a letter to Leech, December 14, 1843, Letters 3: 608; Maclise's objections are from a letter to Forster, quoted in Letters 3: 608n. The illustrators obviously felt that the coloring, which had been done by someone else, threatened their artistic integrity and reputation. 24. The half title was also printed in blue. 25. Dickens forced Chapman and Hall to reduce their commission from fifteen to ten percent and ultimately received a little more than £186. On this point and on the discrepancy with the £230 stated in the letter of Dickens to Forster, February 11, 184 (Letters 4: 42), see Patten, Charles Dickens and His Publishers 150n. 26. Letter of Dickens to Thomas Mitton, April 14, 1845, Letters 4: 296. On a proportional basis, it seemed to Dickens that A Christmas Carol should have made about £1,150 on the number of copies it had sold and that he was richly justified in having changed his publisher to Bradbury and Evans, but Dickens was overlooking the costs of the corrections made in press, the elaborate title pages, and the hand-colored plates, which alone had cost £260 over the first two editions or more than 60 percent of the difference between what he imagined the profits from A Christmas Carol ought to have been and what they were. 27. See also Butt's remarks on this speech (132-33). 28. Farjeon, for instance, records her family's preference for A Cricket on the Hearth (1846), and in a remarkable, personal tribute to that story's power credits it with literally bringing her into being (ix-xi). Collins has counted 127 public performances of A Christmas Carol by Dickens, which included his very first one on December 27, 1853, and which were second in number only to the performances of a shorter selection called The Trial of Pickwick (The Public Readings xxvii). Works Cited [Adams, William Bridges.] "A New Spirit of the Age." Westminster Review 41 (1844): 357-87. Butt, John. "Dickens's Christmas Books." Pope, Dickens, and Others: Essays and Addresses. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1969. 127-48. Calhoun, Philo, and Howell J. Heaney. "Dickens’ Christmas Carol After a Hundred Years: A Study in Bibliographical Evidence." Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 39 (1945): 271-317. Carlyle, Jane Welsh. The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle. Ed. Clyde de L. Ryals and Kenneth J. Fielding. Vol. 17. Durham, N.C.: Duke UP, 1990. Carlyle, Thomas. Past and Present. The Works of Thomas Carlyle. Vol. 10. Ed. H. D. Traill. London: Chapman and Hall, 1897. 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Storey, Gladys. Dickens and Daughter. London: Frederick Muller, 1939. [Thackeray, William Makepeace.] "A Box of Novels." Fraser's Magazine 29 (February 1844): 153-69. Waugh, Arthur. "Dickens and His Illustrators." Nonesuch Dickensiana. Bloomsbury: None-such, 1937. 9-52. The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals 1824-1900. Ed. Walter E. Houghton. Vol. 3. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1979. Wilson, Edmund. "Dickens: The Two Scrooges." The Wound and the Bow: Seven Studies in Literature. New York: Oxford UP, 1947. 1-104.