Charles Dickens – The Battle of Life (1846)

The Battle of Life

The Battle of Life

In this, his 1846 Christmas story, Charles Dickens, in a masterly description of a bucolic landscape upon which once thousands were killed in battle, writes: “If there were no such thing as display in the world, my private opinion is, and I hope you agree with me, that we might get on a great deal better than we do, and might be infinitely more agreeable company than we are.” The amatory sacrifices that arise soon thereafter are remarkably incredible yet convincingly sentimental. Largely written in Lausanne and Geneva, the last third of the novella was completed in five days in September. The critics were unenthusiastic but 25,000 copies sold the day of London publication in the middle of December. Not an e-book amongst them.

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