A Christmas Carol -or- English Misanthropy and Philanthropy
The English Novel -or- The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future
Understanding the back story of the English and England can be achieved by understanding the back stories of English authors and their literature. One English author who brings many of the literary threads of the back story of the English and their dream visions together is Charles Dickens. Dicken's life was strongly influenced by the psychodynamics of the human condition during the "Victorian Period". Author of such works as Oliver Twist and Great Expectations, it was reading the coming of age story of David Copperfield while I was a University student, that sparked my imagination and interest in the English Novel.
In Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol", we meet the character of Ebenezer Scrooge who we learn is a misanthropic, cold hearted and greedy man, a man who hates and is disgusted by Christian charity, faith and Christmas traditions. The only faith that Scrooge exemplifies, is his faith in the power of money to dominate all social relationships. Scrooge is spiritually and psychologically transformed and redeemed by the haunting visitation of the ghost of his former business partner who pre-sages the coming of three spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The spirits act as musical therapeutic guides, showing a dream like montage of emotionally moving scenes out of Scrooge's lyrical lifetime and life history. We can begin to understand the psychohistory of English misanthropic sentiments found in individual and collective dream visions.
Yet, hope is not completely extinguished. David Owen "English Philanthropy: 1660 - 1960" provides a historical and political commentary of English philanthropic sentiments about the human condition. Owen's book begins after the English Civil War (1641-52), outlining philanthropy in England which has a storied history. It could be argued, that this history provided in part, the political foundation for the modern Western "welfare state" in the 20th century. In the opening sentence of his introduction, Owen speaks about George Eliot's "Middlemarch", and the "wide field" of English philanthropy and the "charitable enterprise". The three Christian virtues of faith, hope and charity are inculcated in A Christmas Carol. As Scrooge understands that while he cannot change the past, the future, his future, is not written in stone, and can be changed, if one is willing to change. This misanthropic man who poetically embodies winter and old age, wakes up, reborn by one night's synoptic memory, visions and dreams that poetically transform his spirit, thought, sentiment and being into a philanthropist, a person who loves humanity.