Charles Dickens, Dave Swavely

Haunted Man

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(3 customer reviews)

A Forgotten Classic, Abridged and Annotated by Dave Swavely

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Haunted Man, by Charles Dickens
A Forgotten Classic, Abridged and Annotated by Dave Swavely (Cruciform Fiction)

“Swavely’s goal of making Haunted Man more accessible to modern readers without eviscerating Dickens’s genius and spirit is an overwhelming success.”
–Dr. Gary L. Colledge, God and Charles Dickens: Recovering the Christian Voice of a Classic Author

What is a Forgotten Classic?

Great works by some of the world’s best fiction writers have nevertheless gone largely unnoticed. Unfortunate timing in the marketplace, inadequate distribution, and changes in public taste are just a few of the reasons for this. Yet many of these works can be as enjoyable and meaningful as far more famous books. Cruciform Press is excited to begin publishing some forgotten classics of special interest to those who enjoy fiction that intelligently explores matters of faith.

This edition of Haunted Man, by Charles Dickens, has been abridged significantly to make it more enjoyable for modern readers, while retaining every essential element of the story. It also includes an introduction with character descriptions and other helpful information, and a thought-provoking afterword discussing some of the spiritual issues addressed by the book.

A college professor named Redlaw is a good man plagued by bad memories of a traumatic childhood, compounded by a terrible betrayal and loss during his young adulthood. When an ethereal demonic doppelganger of himself appears and offers to wipe away those memories, Redlaw eagerly accepts, and also receives the ability to spread this “gift” to others.

Featuring the breathless suspense, colorful characters, and witty humor that has made Dickens such a beloved author, the story also tackles some of the deepest philosophical and theological questions ever raised in his writings. His answer to “the problem of evil” is of both literary and religious interest.


Dave SwavelyCharles Dickens (1812-1870) is one of the most popular and respected authors in history (A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and many more). Dave Swavely is a Dickens fan who knows what it’s like to be haunted by the past and delivered by the cross of Christ.


“George Orwell said of Dickens: ‘He is always preaching a sermon.’ If Orwell is right—and I’m convinced that he is—then one of those ‘sermons’ you’ll want to hear is Haunted Man. Dave Swavely’s edition of Haunted Man is a delightful little volume and a welcome inaugural entry in Cruciform’s Forgotten Classics series. Swavely’s goal of making Haunted Man more accessible to modern readers without eviscerating Dickens’s genius and spirit is an overwhelming success. And the reader will benefit, I believe, greatly from Swavely’s insight and thoughtful reflection in his “Introduction” and “Afterword”—particularly his “Afterword.” Dickens was an intentionally engaged Christian layperson whose work was always firmly grounded in his Christian worldview. Swavely’s Haunted Man captures and foregrounds this in an inimitable way and gives us a focused vignette of the faith of this great writer.”
–Dr. Gary L. Colledge (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is an adjunct professor at Moody Bible Institute and author of God and Charles Dickens: Recovering the Christian Voice of a Classic Author

Haunted Man epitomizes the genius of Charles Dickens. As was the case five years earlier with A Christmas Carol, he seamlessly weaves a story which speaks directly to the hearts and minds of his readers. The author always wrote with a purpose: by engaging their imaginations he sought to reach their souls. Though not a religious writer, his work contains much of the spiritual truth which he held so dear. Dickens had the remarkable gift of taking seemingly abstract Christian teaching and bringing it to life through his fictional characters. Haunted Man is an excellent example of this.
Dr. Keith Hooper, author of Charles Dickens: Faith, Angels and the Poor


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Weight7 oz
Dimensions5.25 × 8 in
Imprint or Series

Cruciform Fiction


Print/PDF 978-1-949253-00-9
Mobipocket 978-1-949253-01-6
ePub 978-1-949253-02-3

US List Price

11.99 Print, 7.50 Ebook


145 pages


Paperback, Three Ebook Formats

3 reviews for Haunted Man

  1. perkinda

    What a great find this is! This annotated and abridged version of Charles Dickens’s Haunted Man made it possible for me to read this not so well known classic profitably and with pleasure. Swavely’s introduction has several features that prepare one for reading, understanding and appreciating the theme of the book. He explains why he took out some language that was not necessary to the flow of the story and reduced the length by removing about 4,000 words to make it read smoother. I was therefore encouraged to slow down and appreciate some of the lengthier conversations. The “Who’s Who” section prepared me for the characters as they arrived in the story and helped me to keep them straight. My mind, therefore, was freed up to contemplate the message behind the story. I was surprised by the depth and breadth of the theology and the spiritual issues discussed.

    Swavely’s afterward is a great addition to the work, helping me to make a number of connections I missed. It would be particularly helpful for those who are struggling to see how a good God uses hard times and man’s sin for his own glory and our happiness.

    This is a book that I will reread as it clearly requires a little more thought than most fiction. This annotated and abridged edition encourages me to do this.

  2. Marian A. Jacobs

    In Haunted Man by Charles Dickens, Redlaw is tormented by memories of his tragic past. When a demonic spectre appears and offers to take his haunting memories away, Redlaw accepts. He spend most of the book visiting people as passing his gift (i.e. his curse) along to them to disastrous results.

    What’s the moral of the story? Well as C.S. Lewis said, “A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.” Okay that’s not really what Dickens is saying. But there is something to be said about looking back and remembering your life, whether pleasurable or tragic. Either way, it produces virtue. In the case of Redlaw, retaining his difficult memories brought him closer to Christ once he took the time to see their value.

    Haunted Man is a novella published in 1848, twenty years before Dickens died. I mention the date in relation to his death because I was often wondering if there was a correlation as I was reading. I don’t know a great deal about Dickens, but until I’d read this version, which includes an introduction and afterword by Dave Swavely, I’d assumed, like most, that Dickens was not a Christian. His portrayal of organized religion and “religious” types in his novels was not always favorable. Swavely argues that the explicit Christian content in such stories like this one (and some others) proves that, despite his dislike of religious hypocrites, his affair, and separation from his wife, Dickens was, in fact, a Christian. Or at least possibly a Christian. So as I read, I sometimes wondered if he wrote this near the end of his life after repentance. Instead, he didn’t separate from his wife until ten years later. I think this only heightens Swavely’s point in his novella, Next Life, that heaven is filled with saints who were no stranger to sin on Earth.

    This version is abridged and includes a fascinating commentary by Dave Swavely. I love his proposed idea that Dickens could have been a Christian and it makes me want to read more from this prolific author. I’ve seen a number of BBC film adaptations of Dickens novels but have only read Great Expectations so far.

    I also highly recommend the 2017 film (also a book), The Man Who Invented Christmas, available on Amazon Prime. Although partly fictional, it offers a lot of good tidbits on the life of Dickens as he wrote A Christmas Carol—a similar story to Haunted Man.

  3. Ernie Bowman (verified owner)

    Haunted Man by Charles Dickens is truly a forgotten classic. I was probably assigned the book in school and I probably didn’t read it. I should have. Dickens writes about a man with sorrow piled on top of sorrow. His life has become nothing but suffering and he wishes he could forget all the pain that has brought him so low. Tortured by the memories of what he lost, what he could have had, and what his life has become, he wishes for a way to forget. He is visited one night by a phantom (not unlike the Ghost of Christmas past from A Christmas Carol) and the demon-like phantom makes him an offer he can’t refuse: he promises to erase all memory of suffering and pain. The book then follows the man through his days afterward, detailing the effects this brings to him and those around him. Bonus material here includes a helpful character guide at the beginning and an interesting postscript where the editor, Dave Swavely, reflects on the biblical truth found in the book and provides commentary on the life and likely faith of Dickens. If you have ever wished for escape from memories of the past, I highly recommend reading this forgotten classic. Glad someone brought it back to life!

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