• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 9 comments on A Christmas Carol: Made in Massachusetts?

  1. “Dickens was the J. K. Rowling of his day” – that’s a horrific thing to say of Dickens! Barlow evidently hasn’t read one of these two authors – let’s guess which.

  2. I have a hunch that the writer is referring to to popularity of the 2 authors.
    Anyway . . . Congratulations to Chelsea Bray and thanks to Rich Barlow for the article.

  3. The similarities between the mill girls’ stories and “A Christmas Carol” are very interesting and persuasive. Great research job. I would only add that Dickens was a man, according to biographers, with a photographic memory; he apparently retained everything that he ever read, saw or heard. It would seem quite possible that he “photographed” those stories and kept them in his prodigious brain. Those who have seen other influences on “A Christmas Carol,” including the poor of England(his life-long concern), the Bible and Dante (Stephen Bertman “Dante’s Role in the Genesis of a Christmas Carol”) are probably correct as well.

  4. I think this is a plausible theory as regards material that Dickens might have been influenced by, or even drawn from. However, I’d like to point out that my own theory, that Dickens plagiarized “A Christmas Carol” from Mathew Franklin Whittier, the younger brother of poet John Greenleaf Whittier, was published before this study in 2012 (and referenced in my blog as early as 2006). I don’t think these theories necessarily conflict–in my opinion, the Lowell “Offering” stories may have given Dickens ideas for how to water down the manuscript he received from Whittier for popular consumption.

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