Little Dorrit.

“One always begins to forgive a place as soon as it’s left behind": First Edition, first issue of Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit in the original monthly parts

Little Dorrit.

DICKENS, Charles.


Item Number: 101362

London: Bradbury and Evans, 1855-1857.

First edition, first printing in the original monthly parts of one of Dickens’ most outstanding works, which sold almost as many copies as the best-selling Bleak House. Octavo, original publisher’s illustrated blue-green wrappers, 20 numbered serials in 19 parts, with 38 plates by Hablôt Knight Brown (“Phiz”).  First issue of part 16, with “Rigaud” for “Blandois” and correction slip in part 16. With the original advertisements present with the exception of the advertisement inside the front wrapper of part 1 for “Edmistons’ Pocket Siphonia,” instead of “Edmistons’ Crimean Outfit”; the slip for “Theatre Royal” at back of part 1; the slip for “The Wreck of the Golden Mary” at front of part 13; Dr. De Jongh’s ad at back of part 14; and George Philip & Son ad at back of part 16. In near fine condition with period ownership inscriptions to the front wrappers of several parts and bookplate of Robert and Donna Jackson to the chemise slipcase. Housed in a custom morocco and chemise case. A very nice example.

“In Little Dorrit Dickens mounts his single most ferocious onslaught against England and English society; against its government, against its financiers, against its artists and even against its ordinary citizens who, at least in Bleeding Heart Yard, believed that …foreigners were always immoral… that foreigners had no independent spirit…” (Ackroyd, 758). Perhaps unsurprisingly, many reviewers reviled the book upon its publication. Dickens’ friend Hans Christian Andersen advised the author to ignore the critics: “They are forgotten in a week, and your book stands and lives” (Ackroyd, 780). And indeed, Little Dorrit does: not only a commercial success in its day (poor press notwithstanding) but also esteemed now as a “wonderfully rich novel— rich in ideas, rich in characterization, rich in incident, and written in a richly imaginative prose… Many [modern] critics regard it as Dickens’ masterpiece” (Watts, 108). The story first appeared as a serial in 1855 and was published in book form in 1857.

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