A different Dickens Christmas story

A belated Merry Christmas to you, friends. We’ve nearly made it another year.

Apropos of the recent discussion within the online Scifi/Fantasy community about the worrying “memory-holing” of notable authors and works, I’d like to briefly introduce a lesser known Christmas Charles Dickens story.

“The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton” is a forerunner to what is probably his most famous work, A Christmas Carol. It’s a story I only became aware of by way of its appearance in Tales Before Narnia. Near the beginning of his career, Dickens wrote a serial called the Pickwick Papers. This tale of a Scrooge-like gravekeeper and his encounter with a menacing goblin assemblage is one of the short stories from Pickwick.


Reflecting upon the story now, after having read some Dunsany, it seems to me likely that the patriarch of modern fantasy was himself inspired by some of the more fantastical of Dickens works. The fey nature of this particular tale, along with the appearance of a goblin court (not so well known as the fairy court, I’d venture), smacks to me of Dunsanian flavor.


Should you wish to give the story a read, you can find it here, along with some brief background and commentary.





6 thoughts on “A different Dickens Christmas story

  1. Glad you posted about this! You might be interested in taking a look at my novel Death and Mr Pickwick, which was published by Random House in 2015. (And by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in the USA.) My novel tells the story behind the creation of The Pickwick Papers – and in my view, The Pickwick Papers has the greatest backstory of any work of fiction. One part of my novel concerns The Story of the Goblins who Stole a Sexton, and I show in particular how the story has its origins in a weird goblin-like creature Dickens saw chalked on a door when he was a boy. There is incidentally a very active facebook page for my novel at http://www.facebook.com/deathandmrpickwick My novel received quite a lot of critical acclaim, and was (for instance) on the Oprah Winfrey ‘Best of Summer Fiction List of 2015’, and also made the Sunday Times Books of the Year List. Best wishes Stephen Jarvis

    Liked by 1 person

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