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Dickens was offended by American manners (or lack thereof), and he restricted his visit to the North, as he was so offended by slavery that he wouldn't venture into the South beyond a foray into Virginia.He paid attention to working conditions, visiting mills and factories.The miser Ebenezer Scrooge would be visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Marley, and also the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
Dickens had already achieved great fame, yet his most recent novel wasn't selling well and he feared his success had peaked.
Indeed, he faced some serious financial problems as Christmas 1843 approached.
Beyond his own worries, Dickens was keenly attuned to the profound misery of the working poor in England.
A visit to the grimy industrial city of Manchester motivated him to tell the story of a greedy businessman, Ebenezer Scrooge, who would be transformed by the Christmas spirit.
Dickens reached literary superstar status with "The Old Curiosity Shop," as readers on both sides of the Atlantic became obsessed with Little Nell.
An enduring legend is that New Yorkers eager for the next installment would stand on the dock and yell out to passengers on incoming British packet liners, asking if Little Nell was still alive.
Dickens here showed a remarkable and peculiar power.
Old Scrooge seemed present; every muscle of his face, and every tone of his harsh and domineering voice revealed his character." Scrooge, described as a "tight-fisted hand at the grindstone" at the beginning of the tale, famously snapped "Bah!
Fearful that his career was declining, Dickens desperately wanted to write something that would be very popular with the public. 5, 1843, Dickens gave a speech in Manchester, England, at a benefit for the Manchester Athenaeum, an organization that brought education and culture to the working masses.
Dickens, who was 31 at the time, shared the stage with Benjamin Disraeli, a novelist who would later become Britain's prime minister.