“One always begins to forgive a place as soon as it’s left behind": First Edition of Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit
Item Number: 86543
London: Bradbury and Evans, 1857.
First edition, first issue of one of Dickens’ most outstanding novels. Octavo, 2 volumes. Bound in contemporary three quarters calf over marbled boards. With 40 illustrations by Hablôt Knight Brown (“Phiz”), including frontispiece and vignette title page. In near fine condition.
“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).