Did Dickens invent Christmas? No, but he did reinvent the novel

A new film, The Man Who Invented Christmas, shows that how Charles Dickens wrote was just as important as the great works he penned

It is unusual to imagine Charles Dickens as a young man. A new film does just this. In The Man Who Invented Christmas, Dickens is not the bearded patriarch and arch-sentimentalist of Victorian culture, but a young chap startled by his sudden fame and with no confidence that it will last. Dan Stevens’s kinetic incarnation of Dickens is all anxious twitchiness, his youthful energy scarcely held in. He has written a sequence of bestsellers, but his last couple of books have been “flops”. Now, in 1843, he needs another hit. So – with the help of his bosom friend John Forster, an (invented) Irish maid, whose ghost stories told to his children he overhears, and his habit of spotting vivid characters among people he ...