First Edition, with the Second State Vignette TitleCharles Dickens. The Battle of Life. A Love Story. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1846.
First edition of the Dickens' fourth Christmas book, second state of the vignette title (Todd C2, Eckel 2), with "A Love Story" etched in viny letters on a scroll that is part of the plate not carried by a cupid, above the three-line publisher's imprint, but with the letter "D" in "BRADBURY" broken. Small octavo. , 175, [1, printer's imprint], [2, advertisements] pages. Wood-engraved frontispiece and added vignette title; eleven wood-engraved text illustrations.
Original publisher's deep red horizontally-ribbed cloth. Covers decoratively stamped in blind with two double-line borders interspersed with twelve floral designs, front cover lettered in gilt and decoratively stamped in gilt with two cherubs about to battle while mounted on wasps above a decorative spray, spine lettered in gilt within an oval garland of leaves and flowers with a cherub on a wasp at top and bottom. All edges gilt. Original pale yellow coated endpapers. Original brown silk ribbon marker between pages  and , with slight offsetting onto the adjacent leaves. Corners lightly rubbed, with the board just exposed on the lower corner of the rear cover; spine ends rubbed, with a tiny split to the cloth at the head of the spine and a few tiny splits at the foot of the spine; lower edge of the rear board slightly bumped near the foot of the spine. Some scattered small areas of slight discoloration to the cloth and a small dark stain on the front cover; the gilt on the spine is just slightly dulled, but the gilt on the front cover is fresh and bright. Slightly over-opened between the title leaf and dedication leaf. A very good copy. Housed in a light brown cloth clamshell case by Rivière & Son.
Eckel, pp. 121-123. Gimbel A116. Sadleir 681. Smith II, 8. William B. Todd, "Dickens's Battle of Life: Round Six," The Book Collector, XV (Spring 1966), pp. 48-54.
Wood-engraved frontispiece and added vignette title by John Thompson after Daniel Maclise and eleven wood-engraved text illustrations by G. and E. Dalziel, Thomas Williams, and W.T. Green, after Richard Doyle, Clarkson Stanfield, Daniel Maclise, and John Leech.
"The Battle of Life was published on December 19, 1846" (Smith II, p. 65, note 3).
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