Neil Gaiman reads ‘A Christmas Carol’ from Dickens original notes
If you are looking for an audio reading of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, this one may be tough to top. A new podcast recorded for the New York Public Library features author Neil Gaiman reading the classic tale, and he does it using Dickens’ original annotaitons.
What more do you need to know?
The reading is based off of one of Dickens’ original manuscript, complete with hand written notes. That alone should be enough to attract fans of literature in general. A Christmas Carol is one of the most well known holiday stories in Western society. It has been retold so many times in so many different ways, that hearing the original version told exactly as Dickens’ meant it to be told is worth the listen.
If you don’t know who Neil Gaiman is, you are either very lucky or cursed. You are lucky because you can take this opportunity to read Gaiman’s work and enjoy it for the first time, including the seminal comic Sandman and his several novels. His most recent book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, was recently voted Book of the Year by the British National Book Awards. You are cursed because you have missed out on one of the most original and engaging authors alive today.
Dickens was a famous orator as well as a writer, and most of his books were written with this in mind. A Christmas Carol especially was one of his most famous presentations, and Dickens frequently read the story to packed houses. Gaiman reads from an early manuscript that features Dickens’ original annotations, giving us a hint at exactly how the Victorian author himself would have read it to audiences.
The New York Public Library houses the only surviving copy of Dickens’ personally annotated script, which Gaiman read from during two famous performance. Gaiman even read it in full Dickens costume, although that probably won’t mean much to podcast listeners.
The show begins with a ten-minute introduction by The Secret Museum author Molly Oldefield, which discusses Dickens and some of his eccentricities in detail. It’s worth a listen, but if you want to skip that, jump to the 11 minute mark to listen to Gaiman’s recitation.