Media Blog

The Real Scrooge “was a Dutch Gravedigger”

Perhaps more than any other writer, Charles Dickens, through his stories – above all A Christmas Carol – is responsible for creating our image of what a modern Christmas should be like, including eating a lot, games, festivities, the importance of families being together, and general goodwill. (Before Dickens there was much less fuss made about Christmas in England and many other countries.)

This story, from the front page of today’s (London) Daily Telegraph, provides a further possible insight into one of the influences on him:

He is synonymous with the traditional image of the Victorian English Christmas but Ebenezer Scrooge may have his roots much further afield.
According to Sjef de Jong, a Dutch academic, the Charles Dickens character may have been inspired by the real life of Gabriel de Graaf, a 19th century gravedigger who lived in Holland.
De Graaf, a drunken curmudgeon obsessed with money, was said to have disappeared one Christmas Eve, only to emerge years later as a reformed character…

Tom GrossTom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.


The Latest