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    Sale 1981

    The William E. Self Family Collection Part I The Kenyon Starling Library Of Charles Dickens

    2 April 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 84

    DICKENS, Charles. American Notes for General Circulation. London: Chapman and Hall, 1842.

    Price Realised  


    DICKENS, Charles. American Notes for General Circulation. London: Chapman and Hall, 1842.

    2 volumes, 8o (197 x 126 mm). Half-titles, advertisement leaf at front of vol. 1, 6-page advertisements at end of vol. 2. Original reddish-brown cloth, decorated in blind, gilt-lettered on spine (spines and board edges slightly darkened, some light wear to joints).

    Provenance: DANIEL MACLISE (1806-1870), Irish painter (presentation inscription from the author); Kenyon Starling (bookplate).

    A FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION IN THE PRIMARY BINDING, FIRST ISSUE, with verso of the contents leaf incorrectly numbered "xvi". A VERY FINE ASSOCIATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY DICKENS TO HIS CLOSE FRIEND, THE PAINTER DANIEL MACLISE on the half-title in volume one: "Daniel Maclise From his friend Charles Dickens Eighteenth October 1842," one day prior to its official publication. See lot 81 for the copy of Barnaby Rudge inscribed by Dickens to Maclise.

    Maclise was one of the first of his closest friends that Dickens went to visit after returning from his tiring trip to America in 1842. After an excited greeting from his children, Dickens dashed off to see William Macready, then quickly to John Forster. Forster was dining out, but he "guessed at once what [his interruption] was when Dickens drove there and sent up word that a gentleman wished to speak to him. Forster came flying out of the house, leaped into the carriage, and began to cry, and did not remember until they had driven several miles on their way to see Maclise that he had left his hat behind him" (Johnson, Charles Dickens, 1952, p.428). A reunion dinner the following week included Maclise as one of the featured guests, along with Forster, Macready, Cruikshank and Cattermole. Both slightly before and after this period, Maclise was completing his portraits of Dickens's children.

    After the reunions subsided, Dickens began work on American Notes, and important source material was returned to Dickens for his use. "He borrowed from Forster, Maclise, Beard, Mitton and Fontblanque the letters that he had written them during his journey, to supplement the journal with their mass of details and profit from their spontaneity of observation" (ibid., pp429-30). Later that summer, a visit from Longfellow prompted Dickens to lead the visiting author on a lurid tour of London's criminal slums. The two were accompanied by Forster and Maclise (and two officers for good measure). Maclise was appalled by the conditions at the Mint lodginghouses, unable to subject himself to the conditions within. Several months later, American Notes was published, and this copy was inscribed for Maclise the day before its official publication. Eckel, pp.108-09; Smith II:3; Yale/Gimbel A66. A SUPERLATIVE ASSOCIATION COPY. (2)

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