Archives for posts with tag: Charles Dickens

Hi all:

Normally on Fridays I bring you new authors and books, but today, as we’re in the Christmas week, I though I’ve bring you some classics.

First, Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol:

Author Charles Dickens

Author Charles Dickens

There are many links to versions of ‘A Christmas Carol’, and many movie versions. I leave you a couple of the free ones:

In Project Gutenberg (including audio downloads):

I dedicated a post to Charles Dickens a while back, so if you want more information and links, here it is:

Author Oscar Wilde

Author Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde is one of my all times favourites, as I think I’ve told you more than once. I love his plays, I think Dorian Gray is a marvellous novel and a complex psychological study of the main character and the society of the time (and I don’t think matters have changed dramatically for the better, since), I enjoy his poetry, I find his essays witty and sharp, but I’ve always, since I was a child, adored his fairy tales, that were my introduction to his work. So I could not help but bring you The Selfish Giant. You’ll find many versions shared on line. I chose this one because I  particularly liked the illustrations. It seems it was first shared in a Reader’s Digest in the 1970s.

And without further ado:

The Selfish Giant, cover

The Selfish Giant, cover

The Selfish Giant:

Every afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children used to play in the Giant’s garden. It was a large, lovely garden, with soft green grass. Here and there stood beautifut flowers llke stars, and there were 12 peach trees which in the spring-time burst into delicate blossoms of pink and pearl, and in the autumn bore rich fruit. The birds sat on the trees and sang so sweetly that the children used to stop their games in order to listen to them.

“How happy we are here!” they cried to each other.

One day the Giant came back to his castle. He had been to visit his friend the Cornish ogre, and had stayed for seven years. When he arrived home, he saw the children playing in the garden.

“What are you doing here?” he cried in a gruff voice. “My own garden is my own garden. Anyone can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself .”

So he built a high wall all round it and put up a sign: TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED. He was a very selfish Giant.

The poor children had nowhere to play now. They tried to play on the road, but it was dusty and full of hard stones, and they did not like it. They used to wander round the high wall when their lessons were over, and talk about the beautiful garden inside. “How happy we were there!” they said to each other.

Then spring came, and all over the country there were little blossoms and little birds. In the garden of the Selfish Giant, though, it was still winter. The birds did not care to sing in it, as there were no children, and the trees forgot to blossom. Once a beautiful flower raised its head from the grass, but when it saw the sign it felt so sorry for the children that it slipped back into the ground again and went off to sleep.

The only people who were pleased were the Snow and the Frost. “Spring has forgotten this garden,” they cried, “so we will live here all year round!” The Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost painted all the trees silver. Then the invited the North Wind to stay with them, and he came. He roared about the garden all day, and blew the chimney pots down. “This is a delightful spot,” he said. “We must ask the Hail on a visit.” So the Hail carne. Every day for three hours he rattled on the roof of the castle until he broke most of the slates. Then he ran round and round the garden as fast as he could, his breath like ice .

“I cannot understand why spring is so late in comming,” said the Selfish Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at his cold, white garden. “I hope there will be a change in the weather.”

But spring never came, nor summer. Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden, but to the Giant’s garden she gave nothing. “He is too selfish,” she said. So it was always winter there.

One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some lovely music. lt sounded so sweet to his ears that he thought ¡t must be the King’s musicians passing by. It was really only a little linnet singing outside his window, but so much time had passed since he had heard a bird sing in his garden that the sound seemed to him the most beautiful music in the world. Then the Hail stopped dancing over his head, and the North Wind ceased roaring, and a delicious perfume came to him through the open window.

“I believe spring has come at last,” said the Giant, and he jumped out of bed and looked out.

He saw a most wonderful sight. Through a little hole in the wall thechildren had crept in, and they were sitting in the branches of the trees. In every tree that he could see there was a little child.

And the trees were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered themselves with blossoms, and were waving their arms gently above the children’s heads. The birds were flying about and twittering with delight, and the flowers were looking up through the green grass and laughing. It was a lovely scene, but in one corner it was still winter. It was the farthest corner of the garden, and in it stood a little boy. He was so small that he could not reach up to the branches of the tree, and he was wandering round it, crying bitterly. The poor tree was still coyered with frost and snow, and the North Wind was blowing and roaring above it. “Climb up, little boy,” said the Tree, and it bent its branches down as low as it could; but the boy was too, tiny. And the Giant’s heart melted as he looked out. “How selfish I have been!” he said. “Now I know why spring would not come here. I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock down the wall, and my garden shall be the children’s playground forever and ever.”

The Selfish Giant

The Selfish Giant and the little boy

He was very sorry for what he had done. He crept downstairs and opened the front door quite softly, and went out into the garden. When the children saw him, however, they were so frightened that they all ran away, and the garden became winter again. Only the little boy did not run, for his eyes were so full of tears that he did not see the Giant coming. And the Giant stole up behind him and took him gently in his hand, and put him up into the tree. And the tree broke at once into blossom, and the birds camee and sang on it, and the little boy stretched out his two arms and flung them round the Giant’s neck and kissed him. And the other children, seeing what was happening, came running back, and with them came the spring. “It is your garden now children,” said the Giant, and he took a great ax and knocked down the wall. And when’ people passed by on their way to market, they found the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen.

All day long the children played, and in the evening they bade the Giant good-by. “But where is your little companion-the boy I put into the tree?” he asked.

“We don’t know,” answered the children “He has gone away.”

¿”You must tell him to be sure and come tomorrow,” said the Giant. But the children said that they did not know where he lived, and that they had never seen him before. The Giant felt very sad.

Every afternoon, when school was over, the children came and played with the Giant. But the little boy whom the Giant loved was never seen again. The Giant was very kind to all the children, yet he longed for his first little friend. “How I would like to see him!” he used to say.

Years passed, and the Giant grew old and feeble. He could not play about anymore, so he sat in a huge armchair and watched the children at their games and admired his garden. “I have many beautiful flowers,” he said “but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all.”

One winter morning he looked out of his window as he was dressing. He did not hate winter now, for he knew that it was merely spring asleep, and that the flowers were resting. Suddenly he rubbed his eyes in wonder and looked. He saw a marvelous sight. In the farthest corner of the garden was a tree covered with lovely white blossoms. Its branches were golden, and silver fruit hung down from them, and underneath it stood the little boy he had loved.

In joy, the Giant ran out into the garden and approached the child. When he came close, his face grew red with anger. “Who hath dared to wound thee?” he shouted. For on the palms of the child’s hands were the prints of two nails, and the prints of two nails were on his feet.

“Who hath dared to wound thee? ” cried the Giant again. “Tell me, so I may take my sword and slay him! ”

“Nay,” answered the child. “These are the wounds of Love.”

“Who art thou?” said the Giant. Then a strange awe fell on him, and he knelt before the little child. And the child smiled on the Giant and said to him, “You let me play once in your garden. Today you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise.”

Here I leave you the original link so you can check all the illustrations:

In case you want to know a bit more about Oscar Wilde, I wrote a post about him some time back:

Thanks so much for reading. I hope the holiday season is joyful for all of you, remember all those around you, and have a great time. Ah, I have a friend coming to stay with me next week, so I think I’ll give you a week’s break. Happy New Year and hope to see you after!

Hola a todos:

Normalmente los viernes os traigo novedades literarias y escritores invitados, pero como es Navidad se me ocurrió que quizás os apetecería algún clásico.

Author Charles Dickens

Author Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens es muy conocido por sus novelas, y su Cuento (Historia) de Navidad. Hay muchas versiones tanto en película como por escrito. Aquí os dejo enlaces de la Biblioteca Cervantes al Cántico de Navidad  (gratuito):

Otro de mis autores favoritos es Oscar Wilde. Me encantan sus obras de teatro, sus poemas, su novela Dorian Gray sigue siendo tan moderna (si no más) que cuando la publicó, pero siempre he sentido un cariño especial por sus cuentos, que me han gustado desde muy pequeña y fueron los que me introdujeron a su obra. Así que no pude resistirme a compartir ‘El gigante egoísta’. He encontrado muchas versiones en el internet, y comparto ésta porque me gustaron particularmente las ilustraciones, así que os dejo también el enlace:

The Selfish Giant, cover

El gigante egoísta

Todas las tardes, al salir de la escuela, los niños jugaban en el jardín de un gran castillo deshabitado. Se revolcaban por la hierba, se escondían tras los arbustos repletos de flores y trepaban a los árboles que cobijaban a muchos pájaros cantores. Allí eran muy felices.

Una tarde, estaban jugando al escondite cuando oyeron una voz muy fuerte.

-¿Qué hacéis en mi jardín?

Temblando de miedo, los niños espiaban desde sus escondites, desde donde vieron a un gigante muy enfadado. Había decidido volver a casa después de vivir con su amigo el ogro durante siete años.

-He vuelto a mi castillo para tener un poco de paz y de tranquilidad -dijo con voz de trueno-. No quiero oír a niños revoltosos. ¡Fuera de mi jardín! ¡Y que no se os ocurra volver!

Los niños huyeron lo más rápido que pudieron.

-Este jardín es mío y de nadie más -mascullaba el gigante-. Me aseguraré de que nadie más lo use.

Muy pronto lo tuvo rodeado de un muro muy alto lleno de pinchos.

En la gran puerta de hierro que daba entrada al jardín el gigante colgó un cartel que decía “PROPIEDAD PRIVADA. Prohibido el paso”. . Todos los días los niños asomaban su rostro por entre las rejas de la verja para contemplar el jardín que tanto echaban de menos.

Luego, tristes, se alejaban para ir a jugar a un camino polvoriento. Cuando llegó el invierno, la nieve cubrió el suelo con una espesa capa blanca y la escarcha pintó de plata los árboles. El viento del norte silbaba alrededor del castillo del gigante y el granizo golpeaba los cristales.

-¡Cómo deseo que llegue la primavera! -suspiró acurrucado junto al fuego.

Por fin, la primavera llegó. La nieve y la escarcha desaparecieron y las flores tiñeron de colores la tierra. Los árboles se llenaron de brotes y los pájaros esparcieron sus canciones por los campos, excepto en el jardín del gigante. Allí la nieve y la escarcha seguían helando las ramas desnudas de los árboles.

-La primavera no ha querido venir a mi jardín -se lamentaba una y otra vez el gigante- Mi jardín es un desierto, triste y frío.

Una mañana, el gigante se quedó en cama, triste y abatido. Con sorpresa oyó el canto de un mirlo. Corrió a la ventana y se llenó de alegría. La nieve y la escarcha se habían ido, y todos los árboles aparecían llenos de flores.

En cada árbol se hallaba subido un niño. Habían entrado al jardín por un agujero del muro y la primavera los había seguido. Un solo niño no había conseguido subir a ningún árbol y lloraba amargamente porque era demasiado pequeño y no llegaba ni siquiera a la rama más baja del árbol más pequeño.

El gigante sintió compasión por el niño.

-¡Qué egoísta he sido! Ahora comprendo por qué la primavera no quería venir a mi jardín. Derribaré el muro y lo convertiré en un parque para disfrute de los niños. Pero antes debo ayudar a ese pequeño a subir al árbol.

The Selfish Giant

The Selfish Giant

El gigante bajó las escaleras y entró en su jardín, pero cuando los niños lo vieron se asustaron tanto que volvieron a escaparse. Sólo quedó el pequeño, que tenía los ojos llenos de lágrimas y no pudo ver acercarse al gigante. Mientras el invierno volvía al jardín, el gigante tomó al niño en brazos.

-No llores -murmuró con dulzura, colocando al pequeño en el árbol más próximo.

De inmediato el árbol se llenó de flores, el niño rodeó con sus brazos el cuello del gigante y lo besó.

Cuando los demás niños comprobaron que el gigante se había vuelto bueno y amable, regresaron corriendo al jardín por el agujero del muro y la primavera entró con ellos. El gigante reía feliz y tomaba parte en sus juegos, que sólo interrumpía para ir derribando el muro con un mazo. Al atardecer, se dio cuenta de que hacía rato que no veía al pequeño.

-¿Dónde está vuestro amiguito? -preguntó ansioso.

Pero los niños no lo sabían. Todos los días, al salir de la escuela, los niños iban a jugar al hermoso jardín del gigante. Y todos los días el gigante les hacía la misma pregunta: -¿Ha venido hoy el pequeño? También todos los días, recibía la misma respuesta:

-No sabemos dónde encontrarlo. La única vez que lo vimos fue el día en que derribaste el muro.

El gigante se sentía muy triste, porque quería mucho al pequeño. Sólo lo alegraba el ver jugar a los demás niños.

Los años pasaron y el gigante se hizo viejo. Llegó un momento en que ya no pudo jugar con los niños.

Una mañana de invierno estaba asomado a la ventana de su dormitorio, cuando de pronto vio un árbol precioso en un rincón del jardín. Las ramas doradas estaban cubiertas de delicadas flores blancas y de frutos plateados, y debajo del árbol se hallaba el pequeño.

-¡Por fin ha vuelto! -exclamó el gigante, lleno de alegría.

Olvidándose de que tenía las piernas muy débiles, corrió escaleras abajo y atravesó el jardín. Pero al llegar junto al pequeño enrojeció de cólera.

-¿Quién te ha hecho daño? ¡Tienes señales de clavos en las manos y en los pies! Por muy viejo y débil que esté, mataré a las personas que te hayan hecho esto.

Entonces el niño sonrió dulcemente y le dijo:

-Calma. No te enfades y ven conmigo.

-¿Quién eres? -susurró el gigante, cayendo de rodillas.

-Hace mucho tiempo me dejaste Jugar en tu jardín -respondió el niño-. Ahora quiero que vengas a jugar al mío, que se llama Paraíso.

Esa tarde, cuando los niños entraron en el jardín para jugar con la nieve, encontraron al gigante muerto, pacíficamente recostado en un árbol, todo cubierto de flores blancas.

Y encontré está versión del cuento en película en You Tube. No os la perdáis:

Gracias por leer, y os deseo una fiestas maravillosas. No os olvidéis de compartir y de pasaoslo fantásticamente. Ah, y me va a venir a visitar una amiga la semana que viene, así que me tomaré (y os doy a vosotros, que la necesitáis) una semana de descanso. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Y nos vemos muy pronto.

Today, as most Fridays, I bring you a guest author. It is time for another classic, a female Victorian writer who became quite popular during her life time and recently, thanks to TV adaptations, has regained many followers. Elizabeth Gaskell.

Cover of "Cranford (Nonsuch Classics)"

Cover of Cranford (Nonsuch Classics)

There is plenty of information about her and I leave you some links to both her life and works, to free versions of her novels and stories, and also some links to adaptations of her work to TV. I love Cranford that I think is one of these gems that the BBC can produce every so often (many are period pieces, but not all, and I also love their adaptation/modernisation of Sherlock Holmes…that makes me think, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle should be on my list of guest for the future…). If you haven’t watched it and can get hold of it…do. And let me know what you think.

Before I’ll share a brief biographical note with you but do check the links for much more detailed information.



Elizabeth Stevenson was born in London on 29 September 1810, the daughter of a Unitarian minister. Her mother died when she was only 13 months old and her father sent her to live with her aunt, Hannah, who lived in Knutsford in Cheshire. Her father remarried but she spent little time with him and his new family. Her brother, who joined the Merchant Navy, died when she was 18 and her father died shortly after.

She spent some time in Newcastle but would usually go back to Knutsford (that was her inspiration for Cranford). In 1832, she married William Gaskell, also a Unitarian minister, and they settled in the industrial city of Manchester. She helped her husband with his welfare work and took special interest in helping the poor and destitute in the rapidly developing industrial city.

wgaskell                                                                                                    William Gaskell, her husband

Her first child, a girl, was a still born, and following the birth of her second child, marked by her loss, she started keeping a diary of the development of her children. She had a son William, but he died of scarlet fever. She was very affected by it, and her husband suggested that she could take up writing a full-length novel to try and distract herself. Her first novel, ‘Mary Barton’, was published anonymously in 1848. It was an immediate success, winning the praise of Charles Dickens and Thomas Carlyle. It discussed the life of the poor in Manchester and it showed a good eye for detail and local customs and dialogue. It was the first of her ‘industrial’ works.

Dickens invited her to contribute to his magazine, ‘Household Words’, where her next major work, ‘Cranford’, appeared in 1853, in installments. Although he published a number of her works, including short stories and ‘North and South’ (published in 1854), they had major disagreements, particularly due to the length of her novels, and he unwillingness to follow his editorial advice. I’ve read in several of her biographies that he said if he had been her husband he would have beaten her up. Gaskell’s work brought her many friends, including the novelist Charlotte Brontë who visited her often. When Charlotte died in 1855, her father, Patrick Brontë, asked Gaskell to write her biography. The ‘Life of Charlotte Brontë’ (1857)  made her even more popular although some critics queried the amount of personal detail included.

She spent time in the South, traveled abroad with her daughters, and had just bought a new house when she had a massive heart attack in October 1865, dying on 12 November 1865, leaving her longest work, ‘Wives and Daughters’ incomplete.

Home to Elizabeth Gaskell, novelist and biogra...

Home to Elizabeth Gaskell, novelist and biographer, this dilapidated building has fortunately been bought by the Manchester Historic Buildings Trust. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Her house in Manchester is now a Museum, the street in Knutsford where she lived has been renamed in her honour, and Manchester University has an Elizabeth Gaskell library.

General Links:


BBC history site:

The Gaskell Society:

From the same site a detailed account of her life and works:

An article of the Daily Mail:

Spartacus Educational:


FREE links to her work:


Wives and daughters:


Mary Barton:

The Grey Woman and Other Tales:

Sylvia’s Lovers:

Cousin Phillis:

My Lady Ludlow:

And more…


And links to TV versions of her work (BBC):

Cranford (I truly love this series! It’s a must!)

Return to Cranford (Yes, I also love this one).

North and South:

Wives and Daughters:

Her page in imdb with information on other TV series (earlier versions):

Thank you for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed, and if you have, remember to like, share, comment, and CLICK! It’s FREE!

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, it’s Friday and I bring you another classic. Not sure one should say that there are classics that are more classics, but indeed you’d be hard pressed to find anybody who hasn’t heard of Charles Dickens, or his stories. Even if you haven’t read them, you’ll know what they are about, will have watched some of the adaptations (not only BBCs, but movies, etc), or surely watched the musical ‘Oliver!’ based on his novel Oliver Twist. Considered the Victorian writer per excellence, he’s forever popular.


There are very great and detailed biographies available, not only online, but also, of course, in printed form. I leave you a number of links to sites where you can read more about him. Only a few details:

He was born in Portsmouth on 7 February 1812, to John and Elizabeth Dickens. He went to school briefly but as his father was imprisoned for bad debt when he was very young (around 9) this cut his formal education short and the whole family (debts and ending up in prison were quite common at the time…Some things don’t change) was sent to Marshalsea, although Charles, instead, went to work in a blacking factory and had to bear appalling conditions. After 3 years he went back to school but he was marked by these experiences and they’ve been reflected in many of his works.

He began his writing career as a journalist and he worked in a variety of journals. In 1833 he became parliamentary journalist and three years later married Catherine Hogarth, the daughter of an editor who had been publishing some of his sketches. Shortly after he started publishing ‘Pickwick Papers’ and his success continued.

As we all know he wrote many novels (see links below), and quite a few of them in a serialised format, publishing them in periodicals weekly. He was a model for current authors keen on getting feedback and interacting with the public, as it is known that he would modify characters and story plots according to the public responses to his stories.

He also drew inspiration from his life and people he met along the way and there is a wealth of information on the real life basis for some of his best known and loved (or hated) characters.

He didn’t only write novels, but also an autobiography, periodicals, travel books, plays, and run charitable organisations.

Dickens became well-known and loved in the lectures circle and the travelled twice to the United States (where he did readings of his own books but also talked against slavery), to Italy (with fellow writers Augustus Egg and Wilkie Collins) and toured the UK on many occasions.

He left his wife in 1858 (they had 10 children) and maintained relationships with his mistress, actress Ellen Ternan (who was many years his junior). He died of a stroke in 1870 and he is buried in the Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey.



BBC Biography page:

Wikipedia, of course:

The Literature Network:

The Complete Works of Charles Dickens. It has links to read his works free on-line.

Entry on Charles Dickens at the New World Encyclopaedia. Good links: (it even has videos!)

Imdb page with information on movie and TV versions. He is listed as writer of 338 titles!

Links to FREE works (see also above):

Free audiobook of A Christmas Carol

Great expectations:

A Tale of Two Cities:

Oliver Twist (not currently available…Might be soon. Versions for very little available):

Bleak House:

David Copperfield:

A Christmas Carol:

The Old Curiosity Shop:

Little Dorrit:

Nicholas Nickleby:

Martin Chuzzelwit:

And something a bit different. I normally only add free links on the post about classical authors but…I could not resist. I’ve heard this audiobook of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Alan Cooke (a.k.a. Wild Irish Poet, Emmy award winner, writer, and a true master of voices, who’s also recorded an audio for me that I hope will be available soon) and thought I’d leave you a link. I think it brings it to life and I truly love it. The webpage also offers you a sample so have a listen and see.

Thank you for reading, and if you enjoyed it, don’t forget to like it, comment, share it, and of course, CLICK!

Signature of Charles Dickens

Signature of Charles Dickens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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