"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, 1837. Thick octavo, early 20th-century three-quarter red morocco, raised bands, gilt-decorated spine, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. $4800.
First edition, first issue of one of Dickens' greatest works, with 43 illustrations by Seymour, Buss and Phiz, beautifully bound by Bayntun.
"From a literary standpoint the supremacy of this book has been… firmly established… It was written by Dickens when he was 24 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 was the first title to name the author as "Charles Dickens," instead of his pen name, "Boz." Originally issued in 20 parts from April 1836 to November 1837. With 43 illustrations by Robert William Buss (2 plates, at pages 68 and 74, suppressed in later issues), Hablot Knight Browne (signed "Phiz" or "Nemo" and including the frontispiece and vignette title page), and Robert Seymour. Plate labeled "page 265" bound opposite p. 365. Includes marginal note on page 9 that was suppressed in later issues (Eckel, 1972, p. 57). With all seven of the textual first issue points noted in Smith, following Hatton & Cleaver. Most plates in first state. With "Directions to Binder"/errata leaf. Lacking half title and advertisements. Smith I:3. Eckel 17-58. Gimbel A15. Bookplate.
Light soiling, expert paper restoration to top of title page (not affecting text) and one plate (opposite p. 382); expert pasper repair to closed tear on p. 337-8. A lovely copy, and quite rare with all textual first issue points and the two Buss plates.