FIRST EDITION OF DICKENS' AMERICAN NOTES, IN ORIGINAL CLOTH
DICKENS, Charles. American Notes for General Circulation. London: Chapman and Hall, 1842. Two volumes. Octavo, original purple cloth. $3800.
First edition, first issue, of Dickens' "record of impressions" of "raw" America—"far from being a model for the earth to copy"—scarce in original cloth.
Though popular in England, American Notes offended American readers because of Dickens' "somewhat patronizing observations about the rawness and narrowness of life and manners in America" (Benet, 30). In the course of his travels Dickens was able to call upon President John Tyler in the White House, observing that: "He looked somewhat worn and anxious, and well he might; being at war with everybody." Although generally impressed by what he found in America, Dickens could not abide the existence of slavery in the United States, and the penultimate chapter is devoted to a criticism of the practice. This first American journey was his inspiration for Martin Chuzzlewit. With preliminary pages misnumbered as called for. Dickens initially wrote and intended an introductory chapter to appease the American audience, but this chapter was cancelled, for fear of further insult, and, as a result, all first issues carry "xvi" as the first pagination for the last page of the Contents. Eckel 113. Gimbel A66. Smith II:3. Armorial bookplate. Bookseller's ticket.
Occasional light foxing. Spines gently toned (spine gilt of Volume I lightly rubbed), boards slightly rubbed with extremities bumped. An excellent copy in nearly fine condition, elusive in the original cloth.