“THE MOST GENUINE THAT EVER LIVED ON A PRINTED PAGE”: FIRST EDITION OF THACKERAY’S MASTERPIECE, VANITY FAIR
THACKERAY, William Makepeace. Vanity Fair. A Novel Without a Hero. With Illustrations on Steel and Wood by the Author. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1848. Thick octavo, 20th-century three-quarter black pebbled morocco gilt, raised bands. $1800.
First edition, first issue, of Thackeray’s finest novel, with 40 full-page and 150 in-text wood-engraved illustrations by the author.
"The more I read Thackeray's works," wrote Charlotte Brontë, "the most certain I am that he stands alone—alone in his sagacity, alone in his truth, alone in his feeling (his feeling, though he makes no noise about it, is about the most genuine that ever lived on a printed page), alone in his power… Thackeray is a Titan." "After that book [Vanity Fair] there could be no doubt about the greatness of its writer" (Saintsbury, in Grolier, English Prose Fiction, 102). First issue, with the woodcut of the "Marquis of Steyne" on page 336 (suppressed in later issues), "Mr. Pitt" for "Sir Pitt" on page 453, and the heading on page 1 in rustic type. Van Duzer 231. See Wolff 6699. Owner signature.
Plates foxed, text generally clean. Attractive binding near-fine.