First Edition, First Issue, of Oliver Twist, with the "Fireside" Plate[Charles Dickens]. Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress. By "Boz." In Three Volumes. London: Richard Bentley, 1838.
First edition, first issue, with the "Fireside" plate facing p. 312 in Volume III and with authorship ascribed to "Boz" on each title-page. Three twelvemo volumes (8.9375 x 4.875 inches; 201x 123 mm.). , 331, [1, blank], [4, advertisements]; , 307, [1, blank]; [2, advertisements], 315, [1, blank] pages. Twenty-four etched plates by George Cruikshank.
Publisher's original moderate reddish brown fine-diaper cloth (Carter B). Covers decoratively stamped in blind with an arabesque design. Spine ruled in blind and ruled and lettered in gilt. Crudely rebacked and possibly recased, with original spines laid down (with partial loss to imprint at foot of spine of Volume I and just touching imprint at foot of Volumes II and III). Cloth chipping on spine of Volume III. Corners rubbed. Several areas of discoloration to cloth.
The plates appear to have been reinserted, with some having the volume and page number where they belong written in pencil on the verso. Plates browned at the edges.
Engraved bookplate of Micajah Pratt Clough by Edwin Davis French, 1896, on the front pastedown and early ink signature of John Middleton on the front free endpaper of each volume. A good copy only, but with the "Fireside" plate. Protected in a red cloth chemise and quarter red morocco book-backed slipcase with the spine lettered in gilt with five raised bands.
"When Bentley decided to publish Oliver in book form before its completion in his periodical, Cruikshank had to complete the last few plates in haste. Dickens did not review them until the eve of publication and objected to the Fireside plate ['Rose Maylie and Oliver,' facing p. 313 in Volume III] which depicted Oliver at Rose Maylie's knee with Harry and old Mrs. Maylie all gathered around the living-room fire. Dickens had Cruikshank design a new plate which retained the same title and showed Rose and Oliver standing before the tablet put up in the church to the memory of Oliver's mother. This Church plate was not completed in time for incorporation into the early copies of the book, but it replaced the Fireside plate in later copies and was used in Bentley's Miscellany. In copies with the inserted leaf of illustrations, p. 313 only is referenced for 'Rose Maylie and Oliver,' which fits the Fireside plate, although p. 315 is the proper reference for copies with the Church plate. Dickens not only objected to the Fireside plate, but also disliked having 'Boz' on the titlepage. He voiced these objections prior to publication and the plate and titlepage were changed between November 9 and 16" (Smith I, p. 35, note 3).
"Oliver Twist was published originally in Bentley's Miscellany from February 1837 through April 1839. No installments were published in the periodical for June and October, 1837, and September 1838. The three volumes were published on November 9, 1838" (Smith I, p. 37, note 6). From the H. Barry Morris Collection.
Carter, Binding Variants, pp. 107-108. Eckel, pp. 59-63. Gimbel A27. Smith I, 4.
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