Our Views: Dickens seems totally modern

The yuletide season is a time of year when thoughts turn quite naturally to Charles Dickens, whose “A Christmas Carol” created one of the most iconic Christmas characters of all time, Ebenezer Scrooge.

Dickens succeeded in creating such colorful characters in his many novels because he was, at base, a rather dramatic creature himself — a writer with a deep sense of theater.

Or so author Simon Callow reminds us in “Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World,” a new biography about Dickens that’s just been issued in paperback.

Callow, a lively writer, is best known as a British actor, perhaps most famously for his role as a larger-than-life rogue in “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

Callow, who has more than a passing resemblance to Dickens and has played the writer on stage, focuses on Dickens’ own gifts as a performer in his biography. Dickens excelled in public readings of his famous stories, and he seemed to write in a way that anticipated the movies and television.

Maybe that’s why Dickens, who died in 1870, still seems so modern to us. He’ll no doubt continue to seem that way for countless Christmases to come.