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    First Edition of David Copperfield

    Charles Dickens. The Personal History of David Copperfield. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1850. First edition, first issue in book form. Thick octavo. With 40 etchings by Hablot Knight Browne ("Phiz "), including frontispiece, vignette title page and the second of Browne's famous "dark plates." Contemporary three-quarter black calf gilt over contemporary brown blind-stamped cloth boards. Marbled endpapers and edges. Light wear to extremities. Very minor browning and scattered foxing to plates, as usual. Frontispiece and vignette title page reinforced at inner hinges, expert repair to front inner paper hinge. Overall, a very good copy. From a private collection from New Orleans.

    "For many lovers of the author's works, David Copperfield ranks as the finest of his writings. With a book which gave to the world such characters as Betsy Trotwood, Micawber, the Pegottys and Mr.Dick.... it would be strange if it had been otherwise" (Eckel, 77). "Dickens and Browne are the most celebrated author-artist team in the history of English book illustration," and Copperfield was their "most popular success" (Hodnett, 111-12). It contains the second of Browne's so-called "dark plates" ("The River," at page 482-the first dark-plate appeared in Dombey and Son), created by a machine process that tints the etched plate so as to heighten the contrast between black and white, anticipating some of the techniques of white-line engraving (Johannsen, Phiz, 309). David originally published in 20 parts from May 1849 to November 1850. First issue, with date present on engraved title page, six-line errata leaf on page [xv], with all first-issue points listed in Smith, except on page 132, line 20, "screwed" appears instead of "screamed." Bound without either half title or publisher's advertisements at rear. Eckel, 75-78. Smith 1:9. Gimbel A122.


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