Mystery of Edwin Drood

Charles DICKENS   |   S. L. FILDES

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Item#: 123890 price:$1,200.00

Mystery of Edwin Drood
Mystery of Edwin Drood
Mystery of Edwin Drood

“THAT MYSTERIOUS FIRE WHICH LURKS IN EVERYTHING”: FIRST EDITION OF DICKENS’ FINAL, UNFINISHED BOOK, IN ORIGINAL CLOTH

DICKENS, Charles. The Mystery of Edwin Drood. London: Chapman & Hall, 1870. Octavo, original black- and gilt-stamped green cloth; housed in a custom clamshell box. $1200.

First edition, bound from parts, of Dickens’ last novel, a masterful murder mystery left unfinished at his death, in original cloth.

Dickens' novels regularly revolved around masks, dual identities and other secrets. The Mystery of Edwin Drood, however, "enlarged and strengthened [such matters] in the pursuit of a larger vision, a vision which depicts the 'lanes of light' between the dark pillars of a crypt and which reflects upon 'that mysterious fire which lurks in everything" (Ackroyd, 1056). Unfortunately, at the time of his death (June 9, 1870), Dickens had written only six parts of the book, three of which had been published. The remaining three were published posthumously. Dickens had so closely guarded the plot's outlines, even from his closest friends, that to this day the identity of Drood's killer remains a topic for speculation, discussion and debate. "There are few of [Dickens'] stories which are superior in the matter of composition… [It is] one of the best unfinished mystery stories in literature" (Eckel, 96). The tantalizing tale has been adapted to film and television several times, and even served as the basis of a 1985 Broadway musical in which the cast invited the audience to vote on possible conclusions. With frontispiece portrait of Dickens, vignette title page and 12 engraved plates after designs by Luke Fildes. Carter's A binding, with sawtooth border (Carter, Binding Variants, 108). Two plates at rear also inserted to face versos, as is evidently the case in some copies and is mentioned by Smith. 32-page catalogue dated Aug. 1, 1870 inserted at rear. Gimbel A155. Eckel, 96-98. Smith, 115-17. Small bookseller ticket.

Expert repairs to inner hinges and text block, text and original cloth near fine.

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