“HIS SINGLE MOST FEROCIOUS ONSLAUGHT AGAINST ENGLAND”
DICKENS, Charles. Little Dorrit. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1857. Thick octavo, contemporary three-quarter dark brown morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $2000.
First edition, first issue, bound from parts, of one of Dickens’ most outspoken and outstanding novels, with 40 illustrations by Hablôt Knight Brown (“Phiz”), including frontispiece and vignette title page.
"In Little Dorrit Dickens mounts his single most ferocious onslaught against England and English society; against its government, against its financiers, against its artists and even against its ordinary citizens who, at least in Bleeding Heart Yard, believed that 'foreigners were always immoral… that foreigners had no independent spirit" (Ackroyd, 758). Perhaps unsurprisingly, many reviewers reviled the book upon its publication. Dickens' friend Hans Christian Andersen advised the author to ignore the critics: "They are forgotten in a week, and your book stands and lives" (Ackroyd, 780). And indeed, Little Dorrit does: not only a commercial success in its day (poor press notwithstanding) but also esteemed now as a "wonderfully rich novel— rich in ideas, rich in characterization, rich in incident, and written in a richly imaginative prose… Many [modern] critics regard it as Dickens' masterpiece" (Watts, 108). First issue, still retaining signature "B2" on page 371 and "Rigaud" mistakenly substituted for "Blandois" on pages 469-74; without slip discussing the erroneous use of "Rigaud," issued with part 16. Eckel, 82-85. Smith I:12. Gimbel (Podeschi) A141. Contemporary ink owner signature.
Just a few stains and spots of foxing to interior, interior much nicer than usually seen; minor split at end of text block but binding intact, discoloration to boards, light wear to extremities. An extremely good copy.