"LARGER AND BRIGHTER THAN THE REALITY": NICHOLAS NICKLEBY, ATTRACTIVELY BOUND
DICKENS, Charles. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. London: Chapman and Hall, 1839. Octavo, 19th-century three-quarter brown calf, elaborately gilt- and blind-decorated spine, raised bands, marbled boards, endpapers, and edges. $2600.
First edition, early issue, bound from parts, of one of Dickens' most popular novels, illustrated with 39 etchings by Hablot Knight Browne ("Phiz") and the steel-engraved frontispiece portrait after the painting by Daniel Maclise.
The plot, the characters, the dialogue, everything about the book "has the feel of theatre; it is as if Dickens saw human life conducted among lights of the stage, making it somehow larger and brighter than the reality" (Ackroyd, 283). Early mixed issue, with "sister" not "visiter" on page 123, line 17, and with "letter" not "latter" on page 160, 6 lines up, but with 32 of the 41 internal flaws set out by Smith. This copy with first state of the engraved frontispiece portrait of Dickens, and first state of plates 1-4, without the Chapman & Hall imprint at the bottom (partially trimmed in a couple of plates). Originally issued in 20 parts from April 1838 to October 1839. Bound without half title. Eckel, 64-66. Smith I:5. Gimbel A41. Early ink owner signature.
Light foxing to interior mainly affecting plates, text block split but cords holding after frontispiece, light wear to binding. An extremely good copy, handsomely bound.