The Yule Log

George Cruikshank, title page for The Yule Log. Glyphograph. 1954.1800.2691

This personified Yule log and its attendant sprites come from an 1847 Christmas book by L.A. Chamerovzow. Here’s what a grumbling William Makepeace Thackeray had to say about the book (and its genre) in “A Grumble About Christmas Books”:

[T]he personification mania of the Mayhew brothers is as nothing compared to the same malady in the author of the Yule Log, Mr. A. Chamerovzow, who has summoned the admirable George Cruikshank to his aid, and produced his Christmas legend with gilt leaves and cover; in which there is the usual commodity of fairies, and a prize rustic, who, impelled by the demon of avarice, neglects his friends, knocks down his blessed angel of a wife, turns his seduced daughter out of doors, and is on the point of being murdered by his eldest son; but just at the critical moment of throttling he wakes up and finds it all a dream. Isn’t this a novelty? Isn’t this a piece of ingenuity? Take your rustic, your fairies, your nightmare, finish off with a plum pudding and a dance under the holly bush, and a benign invocation to Christmas, kind hearts, and what not. Are we to have this sort of business for ever? Mon Dieu! will people never get tired of reading what they know, and authors weary of inventing what every body has been going on inventing for ages past?

Not exactly a glowing review. But I still like the picture (by our ever-popular George Cruikshank).

Best wishes to all who are celebrating. If you are planning to visit the Rosenbach over the holiday week, please
note that we will be closed 12/24-12/25 and 1/1 and will close early on 12/31, but we’re open as usual otherwise.

Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach and the primary poster at the Rosen-Blog.