The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club [Pickwick Papers](33 views)
Description: FIRST EDITION in book form of Dickens's first great success; one of his most beloved works. IN EXTREMELY RARE PUBLISHER'S DELUXE MOROCCO BINDING. "In February 1836, just after the appearance of the two-volume Sketches by Boz, two young booksellers who were moving into publishing, Edward Chapman and William Hall, approached Dickens to write the letterpress for a series of steel-engraved plates by the popular comic artist Robert Seymour depicting the misadventures of a group of cockney sportsmen, to be published in twenty monthly numbers, each containing four plates. They offered Dickens £14 a month for the work, an 'emolument' that was, as he wrote to Catherine, 'too tempting to resist' (Letters, 1.129). He accepted the commission ... but stipulated that he should be allowed to widen the scope of the proposed subject 'with a freer range of English scenes and people.' He then, he later recalled, 'thought of Mr Pickwick, and wrote the first number' (Preface to the Cheap Edition of Pickwick, 1847). This appeared on 31 March 1836 ... On 20 April Seymour committed suicide but the publishers boldly decided to continue the series, despite disappointing initial sales. Seymour was replaced, after the brief trial of R. W. Buss, with a young artist, Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz), who was Dickens's main illustrator for the next twenty-three years. In recognition of the fact that Dickens was now very much the senior partner in the enterprise, the number of plates was halved, the letterpress increased from twenty-eight to thirty-two pages, and his monthly remuneration rose to £21. With the introduction of Sam Weller in the fourth number sales began to increase dramatically and soon Pickwick was the greatest publishing sensation since Byron had woken to find himself famous, as a result of the publication of the first two cantos of Childe Harold, in 1812. By the end of its run in November 1837 Dickens's monthly serial had a phenomenal circulation of nearly 40,000 and had earned the publishers £14,000..." (DNB). First edition, early issue. With additional engraved title (first state with "Veller" on sign), etched frontispiece (first state), and 43 plates by Phiz, Buss, and R. Seymour (most in first state and including the suppressed Buss plates). First state issue point for text (as cited in Smith): "F" in the word "OF" imperfect in the headline on page 432. London: Chapman and Hall, 1837. Octavo, publisher's deluxe three-quarter green morocco, marbled edges and endpapers. Toning to engraved title and frontispiece; occasional foxing to plates (generally at edges and less than usual); text exceptionally clean. COPIES IN THE PUBLISHER'S MOROCCO ARE EXTREMELY RARE.
Artist or Maker: Dickens, Charles