"Christmas stories" by Charles Dickens

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his nephew. It would have been his most elaborate treatment of the themes of crime, evil, and psychological abnormality that had recurred throughout his novels a great celebrator of life, he was also obsessed with death. How greatly Dickens personally had changed appears in remarks by friends who met him again, after many years, during the American reading tour in 1867-68.

I sometimes think , wrote one, I must have known two individuals bearing the same name, at various periods of my own life. But just as the fiction, despite many developments still contained stylistic and narrative features continuous with the earliest work, so, too, the man remained a human hurricane though he had aged considerably, his health had deteriorated, and his nerves had been jungled by traveling ever since his being in a railway accident in 1865. Other Americans noted that, though grizzled, he was as quick and elastic in his movements as ever.

His photographs, wrote journalist after one of the readings, give no idea of his genial expression. To us he appears like hearty, companionable man, with a deal of fun in him, but that very day Dickens was writing, I am nearly used up, and listing the afflictions now telling heavily upon me. His pride and the old-trouper tradition made him conceal his sufferings.

And, if sometimes by an effort of will, his old high spirits were often on display. His fame remained undiminished, though critical opinion was increasingly hostile to him. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, noting the immense enthusiasm for him during the American tour, remarked One can hardly take in the whole truth about it, and feel the universality of his fame.

But in many respects he was a sad man in these later years. He never was tranquil and relaxed. Various old friends were now estranged or dead or for other reason less available he was now leading a less social life and spending more time with young friends of a .

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