First Edition, First Issue of Oliver Twist, with the "Fireside" PlateCharles Dickens. Oliver Twist; or, the Parish Boy's Progress. By "Boz." In Three Volumes. London: Richard Bentley, 1838. First edition, first issue, with the first issue title page and the "Fireside" plate. The final plate in Volume III shows the "fireside" scene. Three octavo volumes. [vi, including the rare list of illustrations], 331, [1, blank], [4, advertisements]; [iv], 307, [1, blank]; [iv], 315, [1, blank] pages. Twenty-four etched plates by George Cruikshank, as called-for (two bound one page off from their position listed on the illustrations list). 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. Chemised separately, and housed together in a brown half leather slipcase with gilt spine titles (noticeably worn and split at top). Some edge wear and soiling to the bindings. Bindings a bit shaken, and cracked in a few places. Corners bumped and rubbed. Uneven toning to the plates, with minor foxing, but a mostly clean text. Bookplate to front pastedown of each volume. Short closed tear to the cloth at the spine tail of volume one. Frontispiece and title detached but present in volume one. Frank Hogan's bookplate laid in to volume three. A very good, complete first issue copy of an early Dickens favorite.
"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 title page. He voiced these objections prior to publication and the plate and title page 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).
Eckel, pp. 59-63. Gimbel A28. Smith I, 4.
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