London: Chapman and Hall, 1836. Item #04683
First Edition, First Issue Set of The Library of Fiction,
With Two Sketches by “Boz” and Plates by Seymour and Buss
[DICKENS, Charles, contributor]. The Library of Fiction, or Family Story-Teller; Consisting of Original Tales, Essays, and Sketches of Character. With Fourteen Illustrations. Vol. I. [II.] London: Chapman and Hall, 1836-1837.
First edition in book form, first issue, with title-page to Vol. I dated 1836.
Two octavo volumes (8 1/8 x 5 1/8 inches; 206 x 130 mm.). [iii-v]vi[vii]viii, 2-384; [vi], 350. Twenty-eight engraved plates by various artists including Robert Seymour and Robert William Buss.
Publisher's dark green bead-grain cloth over boards, covers with arabesque design stamped in blind, spines lettered in gilt, all edges uncut, coated yellow end-papers. Covers of volume I with some damp-staining, expertly rebacked with original spine laid down; covers of volume II with joints expertly repaired and end-papers renewed with matching paper. With the bookplate of Eric S. Quayle on front paste-down of volume I. Tipped in at the end is a mid-twentieth century typed booksellers description (G.F. Sims of Hurst, Reading, England) of the book. The plates and text quite clean and relatively free from the usual foxing. An excellent set of the scarce first issue, from the library of the celebrated collector and bibliographer, Eric Quayle. Chemised in a half green morocco over green cloth boards slipcase with two spines lettered in gilt on black morocco labels.
"Dickens' first article in the first number of The Library of Fiction, "The Tuggses at Ramsgate" (Vol. I, pp. 1-18) was published on the selfsame day as the first number of the Pickwick Papers: 31 March 1836. Like Pickwick, the story is set partly in and partly outside London, and involves common London types: the fatuous nouveau riche Tuggses, the mercenary Waterses, and various impertinent and whimsical carriage drivers and land." (Philip V. Allingham, Victorian Web).
"Dickens' other article in the Library of Fiction, "A Little Talk About Spring and Sweeps," (Vol. I, pp. 113-119) was first published in May 1836. It sets out to depict the traditional spring celebrations in the streets that Boz remembers so well from his childhood. These festivities, in the shape of spontaneous street performances and merry dances of young sweeps, have by now deteriorated into a fake and shabby charade that has nothing authentic about it. Boz laments the fact that nowadays the dancers are no longer real child sweeps, but actors who produce a contrived and ungainly performance. Boz's description of the celebrations now and in the past is interrupted by a lengthy digression into the biographies and careers of certain young chimney sweeps, the account of whose mysterious original introduces an aura of imaginative speculation into the sketch." (Dickens and the Imagined Child).
Rare in the original cloth, neither Sadleir nor Wolff had examples in the cloth.
Contains two early pieces by Dickens in Volume I, both attributed to “Boz” and printed in the first and second series, respectively, of Sketches by Boz: “The Tuggs’s at Ramsgate,” pages 1-18, with two plates engraved by Landells after Robert Seymour, the first illustrator of Pickwick; and “A Little Talk About Spring and Sweeps,” pages 113-119, with one plate by J. Jackson after R.W. Buss, Pickwick’s second illustrator.
“The peculiar purpose of the ‘Library of Fiction,’ is to put is readers in possession, at a moderate price, of a series of Original Tales and Sketches, all carefully selected from among a host of candidates; and many of them written by Authors of the very loftiest pretensions in the field of imaginative composition” (publisher’s “Address,” Volume I).
Originally issued in fourteen monthly parts from April 1836-May 1837, with two additional parts issued in June and July, 1837.
Eckel, pp. 137-9. Gimbel E122.