Classic Remarks is a meme hosted at Pages Unbound that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation.
This week’s prompt: Recommend a holiday classic.
The History of a Nutcracker by Alexander Dumas
This is my favorite holiday classic. It’s the story of The Nutcracker, the one that the ballet is based on. I saw the ballet a few years ago and I loved it. The music, the costumes, the dancers, all of it was amazing, and it really had a sort of Christmas magic. After seeing it, I read up about the story behind the ballet and discovered The Nutcracker was originally a novel.
The original story was published in 1816 by Prussian author E. T. A. Hoffmann. In 1844, Alexandre Dumas published a retelling of the story, called Histoire d’un casse-noisette, or The History of a Nutcracker. The story is essentially the same as Hoffmann’s, it’s just rewritten in a different manner. This was then the story that Tchaikovsky based the famous ballet on.
It’s a story that is festive, it’s set during Christmas and it has a very magical mood, almost a child-like wonder toward Christmas. I love the fantasy aspect of the story, I always find it so imaginative and creative. The plot is very captivating and engaging, it’s a very fun adventure to read about. The book itself is short, my copy is only about 170 pages, and it passes by quickly, I typically read it in one sitting.
Overall, it’s a magical story that never fails to put me in the Christmas spirit, and I would recommend it as an excellent holiday classic!