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    First Edition, First Issue, in the Original Monthly Parts

    Charles Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities. With Illustrations by H. K. Browne. London: Chapman and Hall, 1859.

    First edition, in the original eight numbers in monthly parts (June-December 1859). First issue, with signature "b" missing on the "List of Plates" leaf in the final part, and with all of the internal flaws listed by Smith, including "affetcionately" on p. 134, line 12, and page 213 incorrectly numbered "113" in Part

    Octavo (x inches; x mm.). viii, [1, "List of Plates"], [1, blank], 254 pages. Sixteen etched plates by H. K. Browne ("Phiz"), including the frontispiece and added vignette title.

    Complete with all of the advertisements as called for by Hatton and Cleaver, with the following exceptions: in No. I, "The Morisonian Monument" is lacking; in No. III, "The Morisonian Monument" ad has been substituted for the Morison Pills ad; in Nos. VII/VIII, the scarce advertisement for Thackeray's The Cornhill Magazine, rarely present, is lacking.

    Original blue printed wrappers. Minimal expert and almost invisible restoration to spines.

    An excellent copy, rare in the original parts and exceptional in this condition. Protected in a quarter dark green morocco clamshell case.

    Dickens "had always admired Carlyle's History of the French Revolution, and asked him to recommend suitable books from which he could research the period; in reply Carlyle sent him a 'cartload' of volumes...Apparently Dickens read, or at least looked through, them all; it was his aim during the period of composition only to read books of the period itself, and so great was his enthusiasm for the story that it had indeed 'taken possession' of him...Dickens's knowledge of the French Revolution was strengthened by Carlyle's wonderful history, which had appeared twenty-two years before...According to Carlyle's biographer, Froude, Dickens carried with him everywhere a copy of A History of the French Revolution at the time of its publication in 1837...Certainly some episodes from A Tale of Two Cities are established upon Carlyle's own narrative...Carlyle's history may also have prompted Dickens's use of hidden documents which play so large a part in the working out of his A Tale of Two Cities Dickens took from Carlyle what he needed and then refashioned it in the light of his own highly idiosyncratic or immediate preoccupations with imprisonment, with rebirth-and, more particularly, with self-sacrifice and the renunciation of love...The force of the novel springs from its exploration of darkness and death but its beauty derives from Dickens's real sense of transcendence, from his ability to the sweep of destiny" (Peter Ackroyd, Dickens, pp. 858-868).

    "A Tale of Two Cities originally appeared in the weekly journal All the Year Round from April 30 to November 26, 1859 (Nos. 1-31)...The novel was published in book form on November 21, 1859" (Smith I, p. 98, note 3).

    "This novel was the final work which "Phiz" illustrated for Charles Dickens, a collaboration which spanned twenty-three years and included ten major novels" (Smith I, p. 98). From the Victor Gulotta Collection.

    Eckel, pages 86-90. Gimbel A143. Hatton and Cleaver, pages 333-342. Sadleir 701. Smith, Dickens, I, 13.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    7th-9th Thursday-Saturday
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