London: Richard Bentley, 1838. Item #03956
Original Cloth, Rare First Issue
[DICKENS, Charles]. Oliver Twist; or, the Parish Boy’s Progress. By “Boz.” In Three Volumes. Vol. I. [II. III.] London: Richard Bentley, 1838.
First edition, first issue, with the title-page authorship credit to “Boz” instead of Dickens and with the “Fireside” version of the final plate.
Three octavo volumes (8 x 4 7/8 inches; 204 x 124 mm.). Volumes I and III in twelves, volume II in eights. [iv], ,
2-331, [4, advertisements]; [iv], 2-307; [iv], 2-315. No half-title called for in Volume III. Twenty-four inserted plates by George Cruikshank. With all but two of the sixty first issue points as stated by Smith. Volume III with short clean marginal tear (7/16 inch) on B6 (pp. 11/12), two short expertly repaired marginal tears on N6 & N7 (pp. 255/6 & 257/8). Plates facing p. 105 and p. 165 a little foxed otherwise a remarkably clean set with all the text and plates clean and fresh.
Publisher's (Carter A) binding of moderate reddish brown horizontally ribbed cloth, front and back covers stamped in blind with an arabesque design. Spines lettered and ruled in gilt, without the gilt stamped London/Bentley imprint at foot, original pale yellow coated endpapers. Inner hinges of volume I expertly and almost invisibly repaired, rear inner hinge of volume III with very small, minor and almost invisible repair. Lower joint of volume III with very slight four-inch crack which has been professionally repaired. Spines very slightly faded, some minor rubbing and light wear to spine ends and corners but really a near fine set of Dickens landmark second novel. With the armorial bookplate of George Clinton Fairchild Williams on each paste-down. Individually chemised in a blue cloth clamshell case with four dark green morocco labels lettered in gilt on spine.
For this novel, Dickens’s first in the standard three-volume form, Bentley divided the printing task between two firms: Volume I was printed in a twelvemo format by Samuel Bentley; Volume II in octavo format by Whiting; and Volume III preliminaries and signatures A-F and probably G by Whiting with the remaining text by Samuel Bentley, again in twelvemo format. The three-decker publication date was 9 November 1838, and within a week, at Dickens’s insistence, the title-pages were changed to include his name, and the “Church” version of the final plate (“Rose Maylie and Oliver”) was substituted for the “Fireside” version. The true first issue is quite rare.
Smith I, 4; Gimbel A27.