More than a famed writer and social critic of the Victorian period, Charles John Huffam Dickens touched the lives of people with the very human complexity of his fictional characters. Through his critically acclaimed novels, Dickens invoked profound thought and criticism around “social evils, injustice, and hypocrisy.”
In a commentary on a rare, extensive collection of his works, which include A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield and more, historians write:
"His imaginative freshness, his deep and sincere tenderness and pity, his whole-souled humor that is seldom sharpened into whit, his superabundance of creative energy, have built a deathless niche in the temple of fame for Charles Dickens."
So ingrained is his work in society, that the term Dickensian is often used to describe poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters. Each volume in this very attractive Dickens set is bound in half green morocco gilt with red floral inlays, and complete with full-page illustrations. Another collection of Dickens’ volumes offers the same titles, but with all books bound in full red morocco and containing two autograph letters signed by Dickens himself.
Dickens’ writings reflect much of the injustice of his own life, as he was forced to leave school at an early age and work in a factory as a result of his father being thrown into debtors’ prison. In perhaps the most popular tale of poverty and hypocrisies of his time, Charles Dickens tells the story of flawed and entirely loveable orphan, Oliver Twist.
"Some characters are drawn with humorous realism, but for the most part humor is dimed by gloomy memories of the author’s own neglected childhood and sensational scenes are shrouded in an atmosphere generally eerie and sinister…"
Naïve and completely clueless to any of his own wrongdoing, the young orphan Oliver ends up in the hands of an elderly criminal trainer, Fagin. The storyline continues, shrouded in a cloud of dark humor, sarcasm, and unromantic portrayals of the criminal and the impoverished. This 1838 first edition of the novel is available in three volumes, bound in original red cloth.
Arguably the most famous work of literary fiction to have ever existed, A Tale of Two Cities is available in its first edition, first issue. The storyline of this classic novel follows the tension between the French peasantry and aristocracy in London and France during the years leading up to the French Revolution. Written again in the perspective of an antihero, the 1859 published novel follows themes of “imprisonment, injustice, and cataclysmic violence, resurrection and the renunciation that makes renewal possible.”
Charles Dickens’ collection The Christmas Books: A Christmas Carol; The Chimes; The Battle of Life; Cricket on the Hearth; The Haunted Man and The Ghost’s Bargain, were published over the course of five years, from 1843 to 1848. Bound in full red polished calf and with gilt-decorated spines, these five volumes are responsible for developing the themes that have since been associated with the Christmas holiday itself, including “love and redemption, charity and mercy.” These books contain many features unique to the first editions, including publisher’s imprints and an advertising leaf for Oliver Twist.
Other rare, first edition publications of this world famous author are available, including: The Curse of Kehama, Dombey and Son, Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, Master Humphrey’s Clock, and The Life of Our Lord.