Friday, January 28, 2011

The battle of life

The Battle of Life: A Love Story is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in 1846. It is the fourth of his five "Christmas Books", coming after The Cricket on the Hearth and followed by The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain.

The setting is an English village that stands on the site of a historic battle. Some characters refer to the battle as a metaphor for the struggles of life, hence the title.

"Battle" is noteworthy in that it is the only one of the five Christmas Books that has no supernatural or explicitly religious elements. (One scene takes place at Christmastime, but it is not the final scene.) The story bears some resemblance to The Cricket on the Hearth in two aspects: It has a non-urban setting and it is resolved with a romantic twist. It is even less of a social novel than is "Cricket." As is typical with Dickens, the ending is a happy one.

It is one of Dickens' lesser-known Christmas works and has never attained any high level of popularity, a trait it shares with The Haunted Man.

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