Description

    Charles Dickens. Bleak House. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1852-1853. First edition. In original parts. With all twenty parts bound in nineteen issues (as issued). Octavo. xvi, 624 pages. All forty plates and preliminary leaves present. Publisher's printed wrappers. Nearly complete, though lacking the following ads: part I, lacks all rear ads; part II, lacks eleven ads from pages 3 to 14; part IV, lacks the Household Words slip; part XIV lacks the two-page Johnston slip at rear; part XVI, lacks the eight-page Grace Aguilar slip in rear. However, this set has the Village Pastor slip in part XV. The last three parts have rear wrappers supplied from other Dickens titles. All Household Words slips are the correct first issue except those found in parts II, III and V. Publisher's printed wrappers. Many wrappers rebacked, several with corners or wrappers reinforced. Some edgewear and short tears to wrappers. Several plates foxed. Some moderate thumbsoiling to ads, text and plates. Still, a very good set. Chemised in pull-off slipcase, bookplate on chemise. Eckel, pages 79-81. Gimbel A131. Hatton and Cleaver, pages 275-304. Smith, Dickens, I, 10.

    More Information: "[I]n Bleak House for the first time [society] is seen as an absurdity, an irrelevance, almost a madness. A dark force from which the real people must escape in order to create another society of their own... [Dickens] had been preparing for this novel all his life and, despite the calamities... which had helped to provoke it in the first place, ... was even happy while he was writing it... It might even be said that Bleak House cured the very malaise which was responsible for its composition" (Ackroyd, Dickens, pages 649-560). Forty designs were etched by "Phiz." "Of this number, ten are known as 'The Dark Plates' and two distinct etchings of each were executed by the Artist, making a total of 50 steels for the book. Many, if not all, of the other thirty designs were also reproduced by lithographic transfers from the steels, and are to be found mixed indiscriminately with etchings...The first dark plate to be published, marking a departure from the ordinary method of etching, was Dombey No. 35, and the second was Copperfield No. 31. They were followed by the above-mentioned ten in 'Bleak House,' and subsequently by eight more in 'Little Dorrit.' These dark etchings were the result of 'machine-tinting' the steels, which gave an effect equivalent to that of 'mezzo-tinting.' The steel was first closely ruled with fine lines, and the design was then etched over the ruling. After that, by a further process of 'stopping out' and 'burnishing,' the effect of light and shadow was heightened. In the case of 'Bleak House,' as with previous books, there was no priority in issue of the ten duplicated plates" (Hatton and Cleaver, page 276).

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    Auction Dates
    March, 2017
    8th Wednesday
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