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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. 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. Vladimir Lenin publicly walked out of a performance of the Cricket play in the Soviet Union, calling it too sentimental, but it is less explicitly Christian than some of Dickens's other Christmas books. Cricket has been criticised for its sentimentality, but contemporary readers were attracted to its depiction of the Victorian ideal of the happy home.
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. Dickens began writing the book around 17 October 1845 and finished it by 1 December. The Battle of Life: A Love Story is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in 1846.

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