As an incredibly cool aside to our Dickens-inspired “Whole Duty Of Man” series, there was a great piece in the Washington Post entitled “Christmas Carol: Dickens’s Gift Keeps On Giving”. The whole article is worth your time, but I was especially struck by the final paragraph. [Update 11/8/11: A few extra lines of Dostoevsky’s impressions were published in The NY Times’ “Being Charles Dickens.” I’ve included them below]:

In his book, [Dickens’ biographer Michael] Slater records Fyodor Dostoevsky’s report of meeting [Charles] Dickens. The Russian novelist wrote that Dickens, “told me that all the good simple people in his novels… are what he wanted to have been, and his villains were what he was, or rather what he found in himself, his cruelty, his attacks of causeless enmity towards those who were helpless and looked to him for comfort, his shrinking from those whom he ought to love. . . . There were two people in him, he told me: one who feels as he ought to feel and one who feels the opposite. From the one who feels the opposite I make my evil characters, from the one who feels as a man ought to feel, I try to live my life.”

Slater also recommends that readers check out Dickens’ other Christmas book, The Haunted Man, an endorsement which we strongly second. Take it away, Jarvis [slight skin/awesome dance move warning]: