“A word in earnest is as good as a speech": First Edition of Charles Dickens' Bleak House

  • Bleak House.
  • Bleak House.
  • Bleak House.
  • Bleak House.

Bleak House.

Item Number: 51077

London: Bradbury Evans, 1852.

First edition, bound from the original parts. Octavo, bound in full tan calf, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, front and rear panels, burgundy morocco lables, top edge gilt. Illustrated with 40 plates by H.K. Browne (“Phiz”), including the frontispiece and additional title-page. There are 10 “dark plates”. With all three typographical errors called for in the first edition: pp. 19, line 6: “elgble”; pp. 209, line 23: “chair” instead of “hair”; and pp. 275, line 22: “counsinship” instead of cousinship.” Half title present. Original wrappers for all parts bound in at rear, 7 slips advertising Household Words and 4 page ad for Allsopp’s Pale or Bitter Ale also present. Hatton & Cleaver p.275; Smith I, 10. A nice example.

"In Bleak House for the first time [society] is seen as an absurdity, an irrelevance, almost a madness. A dark force from which the real people must escape in order to create another society of their own [Dickens] had been preparing for this novel all his life and, despite the calamities which had helped to provoke it in the first place, was even happy while he was writing it It might even be said that Bleak House cured the very malaise which was responsible for its composition" (Ackroyd, 649-50). "The Dickens cosmos, his phantasmagoric London and visionary England, emerges in Bleak House with a clarity and pungency that surpasses the rest of his work, before and after" (Bloom, 311).