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David Copperfield. A Reading. In Five Chapters
[London]: Privately Printed [by William Clowes and Sons, Stamford Street], n.d., [ca. 1866]. ONE OF TWO KNOWN COPIES of Dickens' private edition, the present copy in earliest state and printed on thin proofing paper. 8vo (222 x 148 mm). [1, title], [2, Clowes imprint], [3]-104 (text, with Clowes imprint at foot of last page) pp. Bound in twentieth-century red morocco, top edge gilt, others uncut, by Henderson & Bisset. With a few repairs to the title page at margins and along gutter, a few paper flaws. Fine. Provenance: Herman LeRoy Edgar (his sale, 19 April 1944, $875); with leather bookplate of great Lebanese-American collector Francis Kettaneh; Kenyon Starling; Wm. Self . Dickens' public readings were among the legendary performances of the middle nineteenth century. "Dickens poured all his resources of his art and personality into these readings (his favourite always remained the adaptation from David Copperfield)" (Ackroyd, p. 902). He condensed the novel himself and selected passages relating to Dora Spenlow, whom he modelled upon Maria Beadnell, the love of his youth. The present copy, from the library of distinguished Dickensian Herman LeRoy Edgar, is one of two known copies of the private printing ordered by Dickens. Dickens' own extensively marked and rewritten copy, from the library of Cortlandt F. Bishop (lot 566, $4100 in 1938), is now in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library. The title page is identical in both copies, with the subheadings "A Reading" and "In Five Chapters" on separate lines. The present copy is untrimmed; the text begins at page [3], "Chapter the First.," and bears pencil corrections in the margins of page 11, one correcting the spelling of the word "his" and the other noting an extra space within the word "am" (both are corrected in the Dickens copy at the Berg). Examination of the copy at the Berg reveals that it is printed on thicker wove paper stock, and that the sheets were trimmed by the binder; it contains an additional "Introduction" of twenty pages, numbered [i]-xx. The opening of this section is clearly derived from, and in fact partly printed from, the setting of type of the original Chapter the First, at pp. [3]-5, where large portions of text used in the "Introduction" are struck through. On p. [i] Dickens has written "in all, six chapters" and has corrected the chapter numbering throughout, so that the heading in type on page [3], "Chapter the First." is corrected by hand to Chapter "II". The present copy contains the earliest setting of Dickens' selection from David Copperfield. In the Ticknor & Fields authorized edition of the Readings, published in the autumn of 1867 (though dated 1868), David Copperfield follows Dickens' revised structure in six chapters. Unique in this state, and with distinguished provenance
      [Bookseller: James Cummins Bookseller]
Last Found On: 2013-11-13           Check availability:      Biblio    

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