dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #248

Gili Bar-Hillel abhillel at hotmail.com
Wed Dec 13 08:34:54 EST 2000

Santa Claus: My mother reported reading a very interesting article about 
"The Night Before Christmas", which many consider to be a major source for 
the American image of Santa Claus. I did not read the article myself, so I 
don't know any of the names, and I can't give a reference. However, 
apparantly, TNBC was first published in a magazine or newspaper anonymously. 
Years after it became a hit, a certain author/poet whom I shall call Mr. A 
stepped out and took credit for writing it, and untill recently was 
considered the author of the poem. However, this has been cast into doubt 
recently, due to the work of a researcher who analysed word choices in the 
poem (the researcher is the same person who figured out, through analysis, 
who the true author of "Primary Colors" was). The researcher claims that the 
actual author was probably Mr. B, a writer of Dutch origin who was no longer 
alive when Mr. A took the credit for writing the poem. Mr. A was not a 
speaker of Dutch, and thus did not know that there was a misprint in the 
first publication of "The Night Before Christmas" - "Donner and Blitzen" 
should have been the Dutch words for thunder and lightning, but they're not 

This seemed to be relevant to the Santa discussion, and timely, too. If 
anyone has read this article and can give me a reference, I'd appreciate it.
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