Description

    First Edition, Second Issue, of Oliver Twist, with the "Church" Plate

    Charles Dickens. Oliver Twist. By Charles Dickens. Author of "The Pickwick Papers." In Three Volumes. London: Richard Bentley, 1838.

    First edition, second issue, with the "Church" plate. The final plate in Volume III shows the "church" scene. Three octavo volumes (7.9375 x 4.8125 inches; 201 x 123 mm.). [4], 331, [1, blank], [4, advertisements]; [4], 307, [1, blank]; [4], 315, [1, blank] pages. Twenty-four etched plates by George Cruikshank.

    Publisher's moderate reddish brown fine-diaper cloth. Covers decoratively stamped in blind with an arabesque design. Spine ruled in blind and ruled and lettered in gilt. Original yellow coated endpapers. Just slightly skewed, corners rubbed, spines slightly faded, with a few tiny splits to cloth at extremities. Neat early ink ownership inscription on title of Volume I: "Thomas Tate / Bilton House / 1838." Armorial bookplate of John Tate on front pastedown and bookplate of Eben J. Brewer on front free endpaper of each volume.

    "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.

    Eckel, pp. 59-63. Gimbel A28. Smith I, 4.


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