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Charles Dickens Legacy Alive in London

  • Jennifer Glasse

Children in London perform for the premiere for the latest movie version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"

Children in London perform for the premiere for the latest movie version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"

Charles Dickens wrote his seminal Christmas story, A Christmas Carol, more than 150 years ago. But even today Dickens and his work remain in the public eye, as a new film version of his story is released.

One of Charles Dickens characters, Ebeneezer Scrooge, is lit up in Central London, a key part of the capital's Christmas lights.

A new movie version of Dickens famous story, A Christmas Carol, has been released and star Jim Carrey told VOA he's happy to be part of the Dickens lore.

"Of course it's inspired millions and millions of people, the entire society. Its in our DNA. It inspires us into spiritual alchemy - to be our best selves, to understand that if you have love you are rich," he said.

Co-star Colin Firth says he likes the tale of the miser who learns to share.

"I think its just a great story, you know, its one of everybody's favorite stories really," he noted.

Actor Bob Hoskins at the London premiere for "A Christmas Carol"

Actor Bob Hoskins at the London premiere for "A Christmas Carol"

And actor Bob Hoskins says Charles Dickens has always been a part of his life.

"When you learn to read, you start to read the classics, and one of the first things you read is Dickens, you know, he's got to be isn't?" he asked.

While the author has been gone for more than a century, there is a living connection in his great-great-great granddaughter, Lucinda Dickens Hawksley. She too, loves A Christmas Carol.

"It's one of my favorite books, and it never, ever ceases to enthrall me," she said. "I read it every Christmas, and I do lots of storytelling with children and I'm amazed that even tiny children love it. It's such a great story."

Hawksley says Dickens probably wrote from the heart about the holiday. But that in his day, it was not nearly as commercial as it is now.

Charles Dickens' great-great-great granddaughter, Lucinda Dickens Hawksley

Charles Dickens' great-great-great granddaughter, Lucinda Dickens Hawksley

"Charles Dickens really loved Christmas, and every year he would take his children to a toy shop in Holborn, sadly no longer there, and they would choose one toy something they really wanted, something they probably had their eye on for kind of weeks, and they would buy it there and then and that was really it, that would be their one present from the family," she explained.

In the alleys and streets of London today there are still pubs Dickens frequented and streets he roamed. Many are in his books. Hawksley says he was fascinated by the gap between the rich and the poor. That is why two of his characters in A Christmas Carol are called Ignorance and Want. When the holiday season ends, the Christmas lights are gone, and his famous tale of redemption is no longer in movie theaters, Charles Dickens timeless legacy can still be seen and felt in the British capital.

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