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    First Edition of Dickens' Third Christmas Book, in the Original Cloth

    Charles Dickens. The Cricket on the Hearth. A Fairy Tale of Home. London: Printed and Published for the Author, by Bradbury and Evans, 1846 [i.e., December 1845].

    First edition of Dickens' third Christmas book, first state of the advertisement leaf, with a two-line italic heading for Oliver Twist on p. [175]. Small octavo. [8], 174, [2, advertisements] pages. Wood-engraved frontispiece and added vignette title. Twelve wood-engraved text illustrations.

    Original publisher's deep red vertically-ribbed cloth. Covers decoratively bordered in blind, front cover pictorially stamped in gilt with a detailed fireplace and decoratively lettered in gilt except for the words on the hearth, which are formed of the cloth, spine pictorially stamped in gilt with a holly wreath that has a cricket at its top and a bow at its bottom and decoratively lettered in gilt. All edges gilt. Original pale yellow coated endpapers. Just slightly skewed; cloth just fraying at the corners with the boards a tiny bit exposed; a few tiny splits to cloth at spine ends, at top of front joint, and at top and bottom of rear joint; spine very slightly faded, with a diagonal crease in the cloth across the spine; some very slight darkening to the cloth on the front cover; the gilt on the spine is a little dulled, but the gilt on the front cover generally fresh and bright. Some very slight browning to the paper at the edges. Slightly over-opened at gathering H (between pp. 96 and 97); tiny indentation to the lower edge of gatherings H-M, appearing as a puncture mark on gatherings K-L. Bookplate of Eben J. Brewer on front pastedown. Previous owner's ink presentation inscription on front free endpaper. A very good copy.

    Eckel, pp. 119-120. Gimbel A92. Sadleir 685. Smith II, 6.

    More Information:

    Wood-engraved frontispiece and added vignette title by John Thompson and G. Dalziel, respectively, after Daniel Maclise, and twelve wood-engraved text illustrations by Thomas Williams, G. and E. Dalziel, J. Swain, and Groves, after Richard Doyle, Clarkson Stanfield, John Leech, and Edwin Landseer.

    "The third Christmas Book was begun by Dickens late in 1845, the title of which grew out of an idea to begin the publication of a weekly periodical to be called 'The Cricket,' with an added motto, 'A cheerful creature that chirrups on the Hearth.' This proposition was abandoned on account of a more important venture resulting in the founding of The Daily News" (Eckel).

    "Although the title page is postdated 1846, The Cricket on the Hearth was published on December 20, 1845" (Smith II, p. 43, note 2).

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