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.
Charles 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