Description

    Charles Dickens [editor and contributor]. Household Words. A Weekly Journal. Conducted by Charles Dickens. London: [Bradbury & Evans], 1850-1852; and New York: Angell, Engel & Hewitt; McElrath and Lord; McElrath and Barker; T.L McElrath and Co.; J.A. Dix; Dix and Edwards, 1852-1855.

    Mixed set of first English and American editions. Eleven octavo volumes (9 x 6 inches; 229 x 152 mm.) comprising No. 1 to No. 279. With an engraved frontispiece portrait (a bust of the young Dickens) inserted in Volume X.

    Uniformly bound in publisher's gilt and blind-stamped green cloth, borders stamped in blind, front boards with gilt wreath centerpieces around gilt side titles (wreaths stamped in blind on rear boards), spines ruled in blind and lettered in gilt in compartments, a few volumes with publisher's names stamped in gilt at foot, yellow coated endpapers. Spines with various degrees of sunning and bindings in variously different conditions, probably belying different origins: Lower half of Volume III spine spattered with red wax and foot somewhat frayed; a few volumes with moisture staining, most prominently to the spine and boards of volumes VII and VIII; corners slightly bumped, with bits of loss to some corners, especially to upper corners of volume XI; front board of volume XI with a diagonal abrasion. Overall, except for a few flaws, these are very good copies that are internally clean and bright.

    A distinguished set of Dickens's first periodical. In addition to comprising anonymous contributions by preeminent Victorian writers like Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell, Adelaide Anne Procter, George Augustus Sala, Mary Jane Tomkins, and others, Household Worlds contains the first appearance in print of several classic works of English literature, including Hard Times by Dickens and Gaskell's North and South.

    Though this set is mixed, it contains the first English and first American editions of these volumes; once in America, the serial's publisher changed frequently -- a fact addressed and explained by Dickens scholar William E. Buckler: "The 1850s were years of copyright agitation in America, and certainly no legally protective arrangements were possible to the English publishers before the journal was discontinued in 1859. And it is not surprising that the course of Household Words was not so brilliant in America as was that of its successor All the Year Round. It was partially a local work and not quite so interesting to an America as to an English reader; it had changed publishers too often; there was no legitimate arrangement between the English proprietors and the American publishers; it was sold at too high a price; it had been published by inexperienced people and therefore had not received proper publicity and promotion; and its lack of pictorial illustration made it unpopular with the masses" ("'Household Words' in America," in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 45, pp. 160-66.)

    [Together with:]

    Anne Lohrli.
    Household Words. A Weekly Journal 1850-1859 Conducted by Charles Dickens. Table of Contents List of Contributors and Their Contributions based on the Household Words Office Book in the Morris L. Parrish Collection of Victorian Novelists, Princeton University Library. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1973.

    First edition. Octavo (9.75 x 6.75 inches; 248 x 171 mm.). 534 pages. With four photographic illustrations on three plates.

    Publisher's red cloth, spine lettered in gilt, speckled paper endpapers. In the original printed paper dust jacket. Jacket only lightly soiled, else a near fine copy of this key to understanding the contributors to Household Words.


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