Six Degrees of Separation – from A Christmas Carol to Twelfth Night

It has been a long time since I posted a Six Degrees of Separation meme, so I am posting this Christmas edition which starts with Charles Dickens’s famous novella A Christmas Carol [1843] and finishes with Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night [1623]; see also my two other posts in this series: Six Degrees of Separation – From Pride & Prejudice to The Name of the Rose, and Six Degrees of Separation – From News of the World to The Woman in the Window.

A Christmas Carol is a Christmas fable about one rich miser who learns his lesson through a series of encounters with ghosts. Another famous tale about one rich miser is Honoré de Balzac’s novel Eugenie Grandet [1833] where a pretty daughter of one rich wine merchant is forced to experience the full consequence of her father’s lust for gold.

Provincial France and home-made wine are two things that Eugenie Grandet has in common with another book – Joanne Harris’s novel Blackberry Wine [2000], a magical realism novel that follows two separate time-lines. Incidentally, Harris’s new book is called A Narrow Door [2021], which is a psychological thriller, and this title is similar to Magda Szabó’s novel The Door [1987] about our narrator Magda’s decades long’ relationship with her loyal housekeeper Emerence.

Magda is a name which probably derives from the full name Magdalen and one heroine with this name features in Wilkie Collins’s classic No Name [1862]. In this story, Magdalen, an orphaned daughter of once well-to-do parents, has to resort to certain tricks, dress-up games and elaborate theatricals to try to recover the inheritance which she and her sister were unjustly deprived of by their misery uncle. In turn, disguise is also the centrepiece of Shakespeare’s famous play Twelfth Night, where Viola disguises herself as a page boy.


7 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – from A Christmas Carol to Twelfth Night

  1. What a fantastic idea to do such a Six Degrees of Separation. I am just re-reading “A Christmas Carol” and have also read “Blackberry Wine” but would not have expected them in one chain. Some of the other books sound fascinating, as well, like “The Door”.

    I hope you will carry on with this challenge, I really enjoyed your list.

    My recent Six Degrees of Separation led me to books about houses, ending with the fantastic German novel This House is Mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was a lot of fun to do and I am now interested in joining in the official monthly link-up where the first book is set. I also love your chain based on “Houses” in the title. Incidentally, I have picked up recently to read “In this House of Brede” by Rumer Godden and I recall another book I’ve enjoyed was “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros.


      1. Oh, that’s great. Next month, we’ll start with “Rules of Civlity” by Amor Towles. It’s on my wishlist since I read A Gentleman in Moscow but I doubt I will have read it until then. Still, it’s always fun, no matter whether you’ve read the starter book nor not.

        Liked by 1 person

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