First Edition of Edwin Drood in the Original Monthly PartsCharles Dickens. The Mystery of Edwin Drood. With Twelve Illustrations by S.L. Fildes, and a Portrait. London: Chapman and Hall, [April-September] 1870.
First edition, in the original six monthly parts, as issued. Octavo (8.8125 x 5.5625 inches; 224 x 142 mm.). vii, [1, "Illustrations"], 190, [2, advertisements] pp. Frontispiece portrait of Dickens ("Engraved by J.H. Baker, from a Photograph taken in 1868, by Mason & Co."), steel-engraved vignette title by J. Brown, and twelve wood-engraved plates, two by the Dalziel Brothers and ten by Charles Roberts, all after Samuel Luke Fildes. Plates with the original tissue guards.
This set collates nearly complete, according to Hatton and Cleaver, lacking the rare and fragile "Cork Hats" ad and the second leaf of the "To Whom it may Concern!" ad preceding it in part No. II. Part No. IV does not have the additional Chapman & Hall 8-paged "Recent Publications" inserted before the "Chapman & Co.'s Patent Prepared Entire Wheat Flour" (2 pp. unnumbered) ad; No. V has the 8-page Chapman & Hall catalogue loosely inserted; and No. VI has the second Wilcox & Gibbs ad, with "Concerning Stitches" on the first page.
Original green printed wrappers. In this copy, the front wrapper to No. VI is the earliest issue, with the printed slip "Price Eighteenpence" pasted over the originally printed "One Shilling" rather than correctly printed. The wrappers show some wear and soiling, but have no restoration. Part No. I has a small piece torn from the outer edge of the front wrapper (measuring approximately two inches by five-eights of an inch) and a slight dampstain to the rear wrapper. Faint dampstain to the outer blank margin of most plates. Pencil signature on front wrapper of parts No. III and IV. A very good set. Protected in a red cloth chemise and red morocco book-backed pull-off case with spine panelled and lettered in gilt.
"When Dickens died on June 9, 1870, he had completed only enough of his manuscript to make up six installments, leaving unfinished a work which had commanded the widest attention for its opening numbers, and which promised to be one of his most effective and popular books. Although only three parts had been issued prior to his death, publication of the work continued, and on completion with Part 6 of all available material, the vast army of readers was left high and dry as to 'The Mystery.' The design for the front cover was by C. A. Collins (brother of Wilkie Collins [and husband of Kate Dickens, the novelist's daughter, afterwards Kate Perugini]), and therein are depicted eight incidents of the story, which it is frequently suggested have a bearing on the eventual solution. The Author during the writing of the story never disclosed the ultimate development of his plot" (Hatton and Cleaver). From the H. Barry Morris Collection.
Eckel, pp. 96-98. Gimbel A154. Hatton and Cleaver, pp. 371-382.
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