London: Bradbury & Evans, 1850. Item #04053
First Edition of Charles Dickens David Copperfield
An Excellent Copy in the 'Variant' Cloth Binding
DICKENS, Charles. The Personal History of David Copperfield. With Illustrations by H.K. Browne. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1850.
First edition in book form, first state (following all but two of the twenty points listed in Smith), in the primary binding. Octavo (8 3/4 x 5 1/2 in; 222 x 138 mm). xiv, [1, errata], [1, blank], 624 pp. Engraved frontispiece, title page, and thirty-eight engraved plates after Hablot K.Browne (aka "Phiz"). The two points not in their first state are p. 132, line 20 "screamed" for "screwed", and double end quotes on p. 368, line 24.
Publisher's 'variant' binding of moderate olive green fine-diaper grain cloth; the front and back covers entirely stamped in blind with a three line border which encloses a rectangular frame that occupies the length of the covers. Within the frame there is an ornament of leaves and stems in each corner and a chain like design that runs along its inner surface; each segment of the chain encloses s four-headed flower and is bordered by a nipple (30 on each cover: 10 at each side and 5 each at the top and bottom). The spine is stamped in blind with; the lettering is in gold DAVID/COPPERFIELD between the first and second panels and CHAs. DICKENS centered within the third panel from the top. The facing end-papers have a pale orange yellow coating. Bookplates of Victor B. Levit on front paste-down and free end-paper. Small booksellers label of J. Moddie Miller, Edinburgh on front paste-down.
Some small and very neat repairs to spine extremities. Inner hinges expertly and almost invisibly repaired. Spine very slightly faded, a few very minor and pale stains on the cloth sides, corners very slightly bumped with a little show-through of the boards. A very good copy, the plates remarkably clean and fresh for this book.
Following the serial publication of the novel in parts May 1849 - Nov. 1850, the novel was published in book form on November 14, 1850.
"As is well known this novel being largely biographic was the first one [by Dickens] written in the first person. The original sales did not exceed 25,000 copies, its later popularity more than equalized the failure as an early money-maker. With many lovers of the author's works 'David Copperfield' ranks as the finest of his writings. With a book which gave to the world such characters as Betsy Trotwood, Micawber, the Pegottys and Mr. Dick, to mention only a few, it would have been strange if it had been otherwise. The rather meagre profits again brought to the author the necessity for a personally-owned and conducted periodical, and this subsequently formulated itself into his Household Words…
Smith I:9. Eckel, p. 77. Sadleir 686.