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Charles Dickens (1812-70) was an established novelist when he decided to produce a Christmas story, which was written in only six weeks and published at the end of 1843. The book was an immediate bestseller, and had it not been for the very high production costs of the specially commissioned illustrations and the decorative binding, it would have been a great commercial success. This strategic error meant that Dickens did not make the profits he expected, which contributed to his falling out with the publishers, Chapman and Hall. The story, however, has endured to this day as a classic and remains Dickens' best-known and most adapted work. This reissue of the first edition, with its famous illustrations by Punch caricaturist John Leech (1817-64), allows readers to enjoy the story as Dickens had intended, and as its first readers experienced it over a century and a half ago.