Is it possible that Charles Dickens stole the idea for "A Christmas Carol" from Lowell's mill girls?  That is what Natalie McKnight, professor of English and dean at Boston University, and Chelsea Bray, a Boston College graduate student, are researching for an upcoming book about Dickens in Massachusets.

It was 1842, a year before "A Christmas Carol" was published, when Charles Dickens visited the industrial town of Lowell during his American tour.  When he arrived he marveled at the superiority of the mills to those he worked in when he was a young kid.  When he returned back to his scheduled trip he brought back several issues of the "Lowell Offering," a monthly literary journal written by the mill's female workers, which he would describe as "four hundred good, solid pages, which I have read from beginning to end."

While this short visit has been forgotten in history, it wasn't until McKnight and Bray came across one of the mill's literary journals that they quickly noticed the stark similarities to Dickens famous tale of redemption that is synonymous with the holiday season.

The Lowell Offering is full of stories of ghosts as vessels of truth, time traveling and social critiques about poverty and greed. Even full scenes in "A Christmas Carol," such as  Scrooge sitting by the fire and meeting Marley's ghost for the first time appear to be complete replications from these women's stories.  Is it possible Dickens borrows more than inspiration from the Lowell mill women?

I personally can't wait to hear about the development of this research that is sure to shake up the literary community.

Read the rest of this fascinating piece on The Boston Globe

Image 1 Via The Telegraph

Image 2 Via The Boston Globe

Tagged in: plagiarism, lowell mill girls, lowell factory girls, literature, classic literature, charles dickens, a christmas carol   

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