London: Chapman and Hall, 1844. Item #03229
"Selfishness Portrayed in a Satirical Fashion"
DICKENS, Charles. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. With Illustrations by Phiz. London: Chapman and Hall, 1844.
First edition in book form, first issue following all points in Smith including vignette on title-page with amount on sign post transposed to read "100£" and seven studs in the trunk. Plates facing pp. 387 and 386 transposed as per Michael Sadleir's copy at UCLA, and all of the other thirty-four first issue points. According to Smith "An earlier 13-line errata leaf exists with the same data that is found on the 14-line leaf; the setting was changed to 14-lines for a better balance."
Octavo (8 11/16 x 5 7/16 inches; 220 x 139 mm). xiv, [errata with 14 lines, verso blank], 624 pp. Forty etched plates including frontispiece and title-page vignette by Hablot K. Brown aka "Phiz."
Publisher's primary binding of moderate blue diagonally-ribbed cloth. Covers stamped in blind, spine stamped in blind and lettered in gilt with "London 1844" at foot. Original pale yellow coated endpapers. Armorial book-plate of "Sherwin" on front paste-down and ink signature of "J.Sherwin Sherwin" on half-title.
The text-block has been expertly re-cased using the original yellow-coated end-papers. The original cloth is near fine with no fading and just the bare minimum of strengthening at the spine ends and slight wear to the lower corners. The gilt lettering is bright and fresh. The plates have light to moderate foxing which is mainly confined to the blank margins. There is a 3/8 inch diameter stain on the margin of the plate facing page 160 and a light marginal stain on the facing leaves. Closed tear on margin of O2 (pp. 195/6), corner (3/8 x 1/2 inch) torn away from FF4. Light foxing to end-papers and first and last leaves only. The text block remarkably clean and fresh. Overall this is an exceptional copy of a title rarely found in better condition. Housed in an early fleece-lined green cloth clamshell case.
Martin Chuzzlewit is listed as number five in Michael Sadleir's list of Charles Dickens comparative scarcities.
The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit originally appeared in twenty numbers bound in nineteen monthly parts January 1843 - July 1844. This, the first edition in book form, appeared on July 16, 1844 at 21s. and was the last of Dickens's picaresque novels. Dickens thought it to be his best work - but his readers disagreed. In fact, Martin Chuzzlewit was the first of his novels to lose readers during serialization and the publisher Chapman and Hall suggested that Dickens's fees should be reduced. This never happened but it caused a rift that was not bridged until Chapman and Hall published A Tale of Two Cities in 1859. Dombey and Son (1848), David Copperfield (1850), Bleak House (1853), Hard Times (1854) and Little Dorrit (1857) were all published by Bradbury and Evans.