“TORTURE IN LOVE, AND DESPAIR, AND MADNESS”
DICKENS, Charles. Our Mutual Friend. London: Chapman and Hall, 1865. Two volumes bound as one. Octavo, contemporary three-quarter green morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, marbled boards, endpapers, and edges. $2000.
First edition in book form, with 40 illustrations by Marcus Stone, in 19th-century three-quarter morocco-gilt.
With Our Mutual Friend, "Dickens has for the first time given serious consideration to the theme of unrequited love. In earlier books it may have been secret or ill-timed, but there was always an equilibrium in which both parties seem to accept that they loved or can be loved; and that, when eventually they declare their love, it is not rejected." But in Our Mutual Friend "there is torture in love, and despair, and madness. There is some necessary connection between courtship and death… so that it is possible to trace the strange curve of Dickens' temperament exploring extremity in art if not necessarily his life" (Ackroyd, 955). The illustrations to this volume are particularly notable as these are the first Dickens illustrations that are wood engravings; all previous illustrations were on steel. Originally issued in parts from May 1864 to November 1865. Bound without half titles, publisher's advertisements and slip explaining title (as often). Eckel, 96-98. Smith I:15. Gimbel A150. Early pencil owner inscription. Armorial bookplate.
Light scattered foxing to plates and text, a few spots of soiling and some wear to binding. An extremely good copy.