“HUMAN LIFE… SOMEHOW LARGER AND BRIGHTER THAN THE REALITY”: NICHOLAS NICKLEBY IN ORIGINAL PARTS
DICKENS, Charles. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. London: Chapman and Hall, 1838-39. Twenty parts in nineteen. Octavo, original printed green wrappers. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $5500.
First edition, mixed issue, in original parts of one of Dickens’ most popular works, illustrated with 39 engraved plates by Hablot K. Browne (“Phiz”).
The plot, the characters, the dialogue—indeed "everything about [Nickleby] has the feel of theatre; it is as if Dickens saw human life conducted among lights of the stage, making it somehow large and brighter than the reality" (Ackroyd, 283). Illustrated with 39 engraved plates by Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz") and an engraved plate of Dickens after a portrait by Daniel Maclise in the final part. Mixed issue (including first issue Part IV with "visiter" instead of "sister" on page 123 and later issue Part V with "letter" instead of "latter" on page 160). All plates are present and first issue, including an early steel of the Linkinwater plate (Part XII; the first three steels are indistinguishable) and the first steel of the Nicholas plate (Part XV). All wrappers are first issue. The non-essential Ashby slip in Part XVI is not present in this copy. The following advertisements are also not present: Mechi's catalogue in Part II; Rippon, Loan Fund, and Amesbury's ads in Part III; the Tyas ad in Part VIII; the first six pages of the Nickleby Advertiser in Part X; History of England ad in Part XV; first 10 pages of Nickleby Advertiser in Part XVIII; and Gulliver's Travels ad in Part XIX/XX. Part VII with the Tea advertisement variant. Part XV with Menzie's slip ad not called for in Hatton & Cleaver. Part XIX/XX with rare "Hill's Wafers" advertisement: "Where the ['Hill's Wafers' advertisement] is found, it should have affixed, five differently coloured specimen wafers, but it is unusual to see it in a complete state; more often than not, the wafers are lacking" (Hatton & Cleaver, 135). This copy has both the advertisement and the rare wafers. Hatton & Cleaver, 131-160. Eckel 64. Smith 40. Tiny bookseller tickets at bottoms of front wrappers of several parts.
Light scattered foxing and minor offsetting to interiors, only slightest soiling and light rubbing mainly to spine extremities of wrappers. A desirable unrestored copy in near-fine condition.