"NEVER WAS A BOOK RECEIVED WITH MORE RAPTUROUS ENTHUSIASM THAN THAT WHICH GREETED THE PICKWICK PAPERS"
DICKENS, Charles. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. London: Chapman & Hall, 1836-37. Thick octavo, early 20th-century full green morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $4200.
First book edition, mixed first and early issue, of one of Dickens’ greatest works, with 43 illustrations by Seymour and Phiz, extra-illustrated with a complete suite of 32 engraved plates, most by Thomas Onwyn (who has signed many of the plates as "Sam Weller"), handsomely bound in full morocco-gilt by Zaehnsdorf.
"From a literary standpoint the supremacy of this book has been… firmly established… It was written by Dickens when he was twenty-four and its publication placed the author on a solid foundation from which he never was removed…. It is quite probable that only Shakespeare's Works, the Bible and perhaps the English Prayer Book, exceed "Pickwick Papers" in circulation" (Eckel, 17). "Never was a book received with more rapturous enthusiasm than that which greeted the Pickwick Papers!" (Allibone I:500). Pickwick would be the first volume in which Dickens was acknowledged as the author, rather than using his pen name, "Boz." With 43 illustrations by R. Seymour and Phiz, including frontispiece and vignette title page, and the scarce suppressed plates by Buss (at pages 69 and 74 in Volume I); plate intended for opposite page 334 has been bound opposite page 34. With six of seven first-issue points. Plates in mixed states. Originally issued in 20 parts from April 1836 to November 1837. Smith I:3. Gimbel A15. "During the initial publication of Pickwick Papers several artists sold 'extra' illustrations to accompany each number… Additionally, many later editions of Pickwick Papers contain new illustrations; other later editions contain new illustrations along with reproductions of the illustrations from the first edition… Pickwick Papers has a long and complex illustration history" (University of Washington). This copy testifies to the book's popularity among artists; the 32 extra illustrations (with 21 by Thomas Onwyn) were issued in eight monthly parts in 1837.
Text and plates fine, mild toning to handsome morocco binding. A near-fine copy, very desirable extra-illustrated.