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The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. With forty-three illustrations by R. Seymour and Phiz.
London: Chapman and Hall, 1837 - Octavo (208 x 128 mm). Early 20th-century green morocco by Charles McLeish, titles to spine gilt in compartments, decorative frames gilt to covers, turn-ins and edges gilt. Binder's initials to rear pastedown. Minor rubbing to extremities, spine lightly toned, occasional foxing to plates; an excellent copy. Etched vignette title page, frontispiece, 41 plates by Robert Seymour, R. W. Buss, and H. K. Browne. First edition, early issue with the two Buss plates present (facing pages 69 and 74) and all the plates in early states with page numbers as called for, but no titles or imprints, and the vignette title-page with the signboard reading "Veller" (corrected to "Weller" in later issues). Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens's first novel, transformed the obscure journalist into England's most famous writer in a matter of months. The first monthly instalment was issued in an edition of 1,000 copies in April 1836. The book became a publishing sensation after the introduction of Sam Weller in chapter 10, the fourth instalment, issued in July 1836, after which the publishers reprinted the earlier instalments so that readers could catch up. For that reason, even in parts, copies are almost impossible to find in uniform first state. By the time the book was issued in November 1837, many textual corrections had been made. Booksellers often list numerous (and confusing) text points that might conceivably apply to a perfect set of Pickwick Papers as originally issued in parts, but all these points could never be found together in the issues in book form. The serial was originally intended to be primarily a vehicle for the cartoons of Robert Seymour, until he committed suicide after the first number was published. Robert William Buss then took over, but he was inexperienced in steel engraving and had to be replaced. The final choice, Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz), was to be Dickens's chosen collaborator for the next two decades. For later issues Phiz illustrated parts IV–XX, re-engraved the Seymour plates and entirely replaced the Buss plates. This copy is handsomely bound by Charles McLeish, with his initials gilt to the rear pastedown. McLeish was one of T. E. Lawrence's favourite binders, of whom he wrote: "McLeish is a good workman: which, in the RAF, and by RAF standards, is the highest praise" (TEL - Correspondence with Bernard and Charlotte Shaw, II, p. 99). Smith I.3. [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2017-11-22           Check availability:      ZVAB    

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