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Since 1843, Charles Dickens’ special Christmas gift to the whole world, A Christmas Carol, has been delighting readers, young and old alike. Right from the start, editions of the work contained illustrations, some of which have become as instantly recognizable and well-loved as the story itself. Other engravings, however, were forgotten almost as quickly as they were created.

Among this second group are 45 illustrations by Gustave Dor? that appear in print for the first time in more than a century in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Dan Malan, an authority on literary art, prepared this edition of the timeless story after discovering the lost art while researching Dor?’s work. Dor?, a contemporary of Dickens, was a prolific illustrator whose work is familiar to art historians. When Malan came across a 1931 French bibliography that listed some Dor? engravings he had never seen, he knew that he had stumbled onto a major find. Malan finally located the sketches in a rare French magazine published in 1861.

Now, the illustrations again accompany the complete text of Dickens’ novella, along with other examples of Dor?’s art, and 130 more illustrations of A Christmas Carol by artists such as Frederick Barnard, John Leech, and E. A. Abbey. Introductory essays of the lives and works of both the author and the illustrator make this edition the ideal volume for anyone wanting to own a copy of the classic tale. In fact, it is worth owning this edition just for a look at my favourite Dor? illustration—the figure of Marley’s ghost, both gruesome and comic, rising rigidly from the floor of Scrooge’s bedchamber and tilting over sideways so as to exit head first through a window. Echoing Tiny Tim, we should say, ‘God bless Gustave Dor? forgiving form to Dickens’ beloved characters, and God bless Dan Malan for bringing to light these images, which will surely delight us for many Christmases yet to come.’

Dickens’ Christmas Carol, published by MCE Publishing. Available through the Publishers Distribution Service, 800-345-0096. $19.95 hardcover.