The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In, a short novel by Charles Dickens, was written and published in 1844, one year after A Christmas Carol and one year before The Cricket on the Hearth. It is the second in his series of "Christmas books": five short books with strong social and moral messages that he published during the 1840s.
The Chimes is a campaigning story like its predecessor A Christmas Carol, written with the intention of swaying readers towards Dickens' moral message. The chimes represent time, and the main themes of the story are summarised in the three wrongs they accuse Trotty, the main character,of committing:
- Harking back to a golden age that never was, instead of striving to improve conditions here and now.
- Believing that individual human joys and sorrows do not matter to a higher power.
- Condemning those who are fallen and unfortunate, and offering them neither help nor pity.
A Christmas Carol had been extremely well received the previous year, and The Chimes aroused public interest and anticipation. Five different stage productions of the book were running within weeks of publication and nearly 20,000 copies were sold in the first three months. It had a high media profile, and was widely reviewed and discussed The Chimes was certainly a financial success for Dickens, and remained popular for many years, although in the long term its fame was eclipsed by that of A Christmas Carol.
The Chimes was preceded by A Christmas Carol (1843) and followed by The Cricket on the Hearth (1845), The Battle of Life (1846) and The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain (1848).
Audiobook running time: 4 hours, 18 min. Unabridged version.
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's most memorable fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. During his life, his works enjoyed unprecedented fame, and by the twentieth century his literary genius was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular. Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, is one of the most influential works ever written, and it remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Set in London and Paris, his 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, is the best selling novel of all time. His creative genius has been praised by fellow writers - from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell and G. K. Chesterton - for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism.