Lyra's Classics


A Christmas Carol.

In Prose.

Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.

A Novelette, by

Charles Dickens

Published In A Hand-Bound Limited Edition From

Lyra's Books


“God bless us every one!”

Charles Dickens’ festive tale of redemption and compassion is one of the most loved short stories ever written.

In 1843, Dickens intended to write a political manifesto, not a story, exposing and condemning the abject misery of the Victorian poor, particularly child poverty. Instead, he wrote one of the most enduring popular short stories ever written.

On a cold, ghostly, Christmas Eve, miserly businessman Ebenezer Scrooge is unkind to the people who work for him, refusing to give to charity, and is rude to his nephew who has invited him to spend Christmas with him. “Bah!” said Scrooge, “Humbug!”

When Scrooge gets home, he is visited by the ghost of his old business partner, Jacob Marley and then by three ghosts who, in time, teach Scrooge the error of his ways.

A Christmas Carol has never been out of print and has been translated into several languages. The story has been adapted many times for film, stage, opera and television, more than any of Dickens’ other works.

This edition contains an exclusive afterword written by renowned actor, writer and director Simon Callow. Callow has extensively studied and researched Dickens’ life and is the author of Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World.

Our version contains newly commissioned paintings and a multitude of black and white relief prints by the acclaimed artist Gary Gianni.

All books are letterpress printed in two colours and hand-bound, using the finest materials available.


Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was an English writer and social critic. During his lifetime, his works enjoyed unprecedented popularity. He is now considered a literary genius having created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity.

His many titles include David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations amongst many other classic stories.

In 1858 Dickens began a series of paid readings, which became instantly popular. In all, Dickens performed more than 400 times. During his readings in 1869 he collapsed. He retreated and began to work on Edwin Drood, which was never completed.

Charles Dickens died at home on June 9, 1870 after suffering a stroke. Contrary to his wish to be buried in Rochester Cathedral, he was buried in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey. The inscription on his tomb reads:

“He was a sympathiser to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.”


Gary Gianni

Gary Gianni began as an illustrator for Chicago newspapers and as a reporter sketch artist for television. He has illustrated books, often requested by the authors, ranging from Michael Chabon and Ray Bradbury to George RR Martin and has illustrated classic novels by Melville and Verne. He spent several years portraying the stories of Conan, Solomon Kane and Bran Mak Morn in a series of books by R. E. Howard, which became international best sellers. He also produced hundreds of drawings and paintings with author George RR Martin for his A Song of Ice and Fire epic novels, which have been nominated for many awards.

In comics, he worked on Batman, The Shadow, Hellboy and his own creation the Monstermen. For almost a decade he served as illustrator on the syndicated newspaper strip Prince Valiant.

He recently illustrated The Case of Death and Honey by Neil Gaiman for a fine press edition by Arete Editions and is now, after illustrating A Christmas Carol, working on another title for Lyra’s Books.


Simon Callow

Simon Phillip Hugh Callow CBE is an acclaimed English actor, director, and writer, BAFTA award winner and Laurence Olivier Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance winner. He has appeared in many films, including the hugely popular Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare in Love, Phantom of the Opera, Amadeus, and A Room with a View. His acting credits in productions of works by and about Dickens include The Mystery of Charles Dickens, Dr Marigold and Mr Chops, and A Christmas Carol. He also played Dickens himself in the BBC’s Dr Who.

Simon has written biographies of Oscar Wilde, Charles Laughton, Orson Welles, and Richard Wagner. He has also written an anthology of Shakespeare passages, Shakespeare on Love, and contributed to Cambridge’s Actors on Shakespeare series. He is the author of Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World.

Design Notes

Gary Gianni

A Word from Our Artist

Dickens is dead, to begin with, there is no doubt about that.

I can tell you, however, he was at my side all the while I was illustrating “A Christmas Carol.” Unnerving.

I had the opportunity to illustrate “A Christmas Carol” a couple of times during my career. It wasn’t until these later years, after experiencing some of the highs and lows in life that I felt capable of creating images which reflected Dickens’ themes of darkness and light. Extremes of joy and despair, wealth and poverty, damnation and redemption, ignorance and want. I wanted to draw people “as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave…”

There was a desire to illustrate “A Christmas Carol” because I have my own memories of Christmas past. Dickens recalls those times for me. But the story belongs to everyone- it binds our common humanity. It’s a bannister of hope that the human race can hang onto. Sure, we’ve all seen the movie or the stage play but to read the actual book is an experience like no other. You will hear Dickens speak to us. He goes so far as to mention he’s standing at our side as we read. After all, it is a ghost story. And it has as much significance today as it did when first published in 1843. Maybe even more so.

Now I’ll admit something I’ll probably regret. Something that may read as supremely egotistical but I don’t mean it to be…

If my illustrations help persuade even one person to read “A Christmas Carol”, even if the drawings seen here compel a reader to find the text on-line, that will be quite enough for me.

Gary Gianni

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