|Illustrator|| Daniel Maclise |
|Publisher||Bradbury and Evans|
|20 December 1845|
|Preceded by||The Chimes|
|Followed by||The Battle of Life|
|Text||The Cricket on the Hearth at Wikisource|
The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home is a novella by Charles Dickens, published by Bradbury and Evans, and released 20 December 1845 with illustrations by Daniel Maclise, John Leech, Richard Doyle, Clarkson Stanfield and Edwin Henry Landseer.  Dickens began writing the book around 17 October 1845 and finished it by 1 December. Like all of Dickens's Christmas books, it was published in book form, not as a serial. 
Dickens described the novel as "quiet and domestic [...] innocent and pretty."  It is subdivided into chapters called "Chirps", similar to the "Quarters" of The Chimes or the "Staves" of A Christmas Carol. It is the third of Dickens's five Christmas books, preceded by A Christmas Carol (1843) and The Chimes (1844), and followed by The Battle of Life (1846) and The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain (1848).
In July 1845, Dickens contemplated forming a periodical focusing on the concerns of the home. It was to be called The Cricket, but the plan fell through, and he transformed his idea into a Christmas book in which he abandoned social criticism, current events, and topical themes in favour of simple fantasy and a domestic setting for his hero's redemption, though some have criticised this notion.  The book was released on 20 December 1845 (the title page read "1846") and sold briskly into the New Year. Seventeen stage productions opened during the Christmas season 1845 with one production receiving Dickens's approval and opening on the same day as the book's release. Dickens read the tale four times in public performance. It has been dramatised in numerous languages and for years was more popular on stage than A Christmas Carol. Cricket is less explicitly Christian than some of Dickens's other Christmas books, and it has been criticised for its sentimentality, but contemporary readers were attracted to its depiction of the Victorian ideal of the happy home. 
John Peerybingle, a carrier, lives with his young wife Dot, their baby boy and their nanny Tilly Slowboy. A cricket chirps on the hearth and acts as a guardian angel to the family. One day a mysterious elderly stranger comes to visit and takes up lodging at Peerybingle's house for a few days.
The life of the Peerybingles intersects with that of Caleb Plummer, a poor toymaker employed by the miser Mr. Tackleton. Caleb has a blind daughter Bertha, and a son Edward, who travelled to South America and is thought to be dead.
The miser Tackleton is now on the eve of marrying Edward's sweetheart, May, but she does not love Tackleton. Tackleton tells John Peerybingle that his wife Dot has cheated on him, and shows him a clandestine scene in which Dot embraces the mysterious lodger; the latter, who is in disguise, is actually a much younger man than he seems. John is cut to the heart over this as he loves his wife dearly, but decides after some deliberations to relieve his wife of their marriage contract.
In the end, the mysterious lodger is revealed to be none other than Edward who has returned home in disguise. Dot shows that she has indeed been faithful to John. Edward marries May hours before she is scheduled to marry Tackleton. However, Tackleton's heart is melted by the festive cheer (in a manner reminiscent of Ebenezer Scrooge), and he surrenders May to her true love.
The book was a huge commercial success, quickly going through two editions.  Reviews were favourable, but not all so. In an unsigned piece in The Times the reviewer opined, "We owe it to literature to protest against this last production of Mr. Dickens [...] Shades of Fielding and Scott! Is it for such jargon as this that we have given your throne to one who cannot estimate his eminence?"  However, William Makepeace Thackeray enjoyed the book immensely: "To us, it appears it is a good Christmas book, illuminated with extra gas, crammed with extra bonbons, French plums and sweetness [...] This story is no more a real story than Peerybingle is a real name!" 
Dickens's portrayal of the blind girl Bertha is significant. Victorians believed disabilities were inherited, and thus it was not socially acceptable for the blind to marry (although they often did in reality).  In fictional courtship plots, the blind were often used to build tension since it was assumed they must be kept from marrying.  The fictional portrayal of Bertha is similar to Dickens's description in American Notes (1842) of the deaf and blind girl Laura Bridgman, whom he saw on a visit to the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston, Massachusetts. 
Modern scholars have given the story little attention, but Andrew Sangers has argued it contains similarities to Shakespeare's comedies and should be seen "both as a significant indication of the tastes of the 1840s and of Dickens himself." 
Vladimir Lenin left during a performance of the Cricket play in Russia, as he found it dull and the saccharine sentimentality got on his nerves.  This incident might now be little remembered if George Orwell had not mentioned it in his essay on Dickens. 
Stage adaptations include the successful The Cricket on the Hearth by Albert Richard Smith produced at the Surrey Theatre in 1845, and Dion Boucicault's Dot, A Drama in Three Acts (or simply Dot), first performed at New York's Winter Garden in 1859. It was staged repeatedly in Britain and America for the remainder of the 19th century, starring, at times, John Toole, Henry Irving, and Jean Davenport. The play helped launch the career of American actor Joseph Jefferson (1829–1905).
The novella was the basis for at least two operas: Karl Goldmark's Das Heimchem am Herd with a libretto by A. M. Willner (premiere: June 1896, Berlin; New York 1910),  and Riccardo Zandonai's Il grillo del focolare with a libretto by Cesare Hanau (premiere: November 1908, Turin).  Goldmark's opera was performed in Philadelphia in November 1912 with the Cricket sung by American soprano Mabel Riegelman (1889, Cincinnati – 1967, Burlingame, California).
Film, radio, and television adaptations include three American silent film versions: one, directed by D.W. Griffith (1909) starring Owen Moore, another directed by L. Marston (1914) starring Alan Hale, and one directed by Lorimer Johnston (1923). A silent Russian version, Sverchok na Pechi (1915) was directed by Boris Sushkevich and Aleksandr Uralsky and starred Maria Ouspenskaya.  A silent French version, Le Grillon du Foyer (1922), was directed and adapted by Jean Manoussi and starred Charles Boyer as Edouard.  A 25-minute NBC radio play adaptation aired on 24 December 1945. 
In 1967, Rankin/Bass Productions produced a 50-minute animated television adaptation of the story for NBC. Told in the Cricket's own words, it featured the voices of Roddy MacDowall as the Cricket, and father and daughter Danny Thomas and Marlo Thomas as Caleb and Bertha, with various other characters voiced by Paul Frees and Hans Conried.  This adaptation cuts several characters, including the central pair of John and Dot, focusing solely on Caleb and Bertha.  Television Corporation of Japan (now Eiken) provided the animation for the special, while its seven original songs were written and composed by Maury Laws and Jules Bass. Rankin/Bass later produced their adaptations of Dickens's other holiday stories for television: A Christmas Tree (1850) as the ninth episode of their 1972–73 syndicated television series, Festival of Family Classics , and A Christmas Carol (1843) as the 1978 animated remake of the 1956 live action musical special, The Stingiest Man in Town .
Media related to The Cricket on the Hearth at Wikimedia Commons
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime and, by the 20th century, critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are widely read today.
A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, commonly known as A Christmas Carol, is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in London by Chapman & Hall in 1843 and illustrated by John Leech. A Christmas Carol recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.
Ebenezer Scrooge is the protagonist of Charles Dickens's 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. At the beginning of the novella, Scrooge is a cold-hearted miser who despises Christmas. The tale of his redemption by three spirits has become a defining tale of the Christmas holiday in the English-speaking world.
This article contains information about the literary events and publications of 1843.
Christmas pudding is sweet dried-fruit pudding traditionally served as part of Christmas dinner in Britain and other countries to which the tradition has been exported. It has its origins in medieval England, with early recipes making use of dried fruit, suet, breadcrumbs, flour, eggs and spice, along with liquid such as milk or fortified wine. Later, recipes became more elaborate. In 1845, cookery writer Eliza Acton wrote the first recipe for a dish actually called "Christmas pudding".
Bob Cratchit is a fictional character in the Charles Dickens 1843 novel A Christmas Carol. The abused, underpaid clerk of Ebenezer Scrooge, Cratchit has come to symbolize the poor working conditions, especially long working hours and low pay, endured by many working-class people in the early Victorian era.
The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In, commonly referred to as The Chimes, is a novella written by Charles Dickens and first published in 1844, one year after A Christmas Carol. It is the second in his series of "Christmas books," five novellas with strong social and moral messages that he published during the 1840s. In addition to A Christmas Carol and The Chimes, the Christmas books include The Cricket on the Hearth (1845), The Battle of Life (1846), and The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain (1848).
The Battle of Life: A Love Story is an 1846 novel by Charles Dickens. 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 Ghost of Christmas Present is a fictional character in Charles Dickens' 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. The Ghost is one of three spirits which appear to miser Ebenezer Scrooge to offer him a chance of redemption.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is a fictional character in Charles Dickens's 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. The Ghost is one of three spirits which appear to miser Ebenezer Scrooge to offer him a chance of redemption.
A Christmas Carol, the popular 1843 novella by Charles Dickens (1812–1870), is one of the British author's best-known works. It is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy miser who hates Christmas, but is transformed into a caring, kindly person through the visitations of four ghosts. The classic work has been dramatised and adapted countless times for virtually every medium and performance genre, and new versions appear regularly.
The Dickens family are the descendants of John Dickens, the father of the English novelist Charles Dickens. John Dickens was a clerk in the Royal Navy Pay Office and had eight children from his marriage to Elizabeth Barrow. Their second child and eldest son was Charles Dickens, whose descendants include the novelist Monica Dickens, the writer Lucinda Dickens Hawksley and the actors Harry Lloyd and Brian Forster.
The Christmas Carol is a 1949 low-budget, black and white television special narrated by Vincent Price. Compressing Charles Dickens' classic 1843 story into a half-hour, it is stated to be "the oldest extant straight adaptation of the story" for television. It was originally produced as a syndicated production for airing on 22 stations across the United States on Christmas Day in 1949. It was sponsored by Magnavox and represented that company's first use of television advertising. In 1952, the show was acquired by Consolidated Television Sales for further syndication.
Edward Richard Wright (1813–1859) was an English comedian and actor.
The Cricket on the Hearth is a 1909 silent short film directed by D. W. Griffith. It is based on the 1845 novella of the same title by Charles Dickens.
The Cricket on the Hearth is a 1923 American silent comedy film directed by Lorimer Johnston and starring Josef Swickard, Fritzi Ridgeway, and Paul Gerson.
The Man Who Invented Christmas is a 2017 Christmas biographical comedy-drama film directed by Bharat Nalluri and written by Susan Coyne. Based on the 2008 book of the same name about Charles Dickens by Les Standiford, the joint Canadian and Irish production stars Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, and Jonathan Pryce, and follows Dickens (Stevens) as he conceives and writes his 1843 novella A Christmas Carol.
John Billington was an English actor, for many years a member of the company of the Adelphi Theatre in London.