[DICKENS, Charles]. -- BEAUMONT, Francis and John FLETCHER. The Works. Introduction by George Darley. London: Edward Moxon, 1840.
2 volumes, tall 8o (237 x 154 mm). Engraved frontispiece portraits and titles. Polished tan calf, spine gilt, top edges gilt, by Sotheran. Provenance: John A. Overs (1808-1844), London cabinet-maker and friend of Dickens (gift inscription from Charles Dickens); Emily Vine (gift inscription from her mother dated 1857 on title of each volume).
WITH A GIFT INSCRIPTION FROM DICKENS TO J.A. OVERS on the half-title in volume one: "J.A. Overs from Charles Dickens 1st November 1840." A cabinet-maker by training, Overs educated himself and pursued his interests in writing. Dickens became his most important literary friend, providing comments on his stories and poems, introducing him to newspaper editors and financial assistance when Overs became ill. Overs first wrote to Dickens in January 1839, hoping to have some poetry placed in Bentley's. Dickens recommended several pieces to his successor as editor. "Perhaps more importantly, however, Dickens advised Overs on the publication Evenings of a Working Man (1844), and wrote the preface to the work. This collection was dedicated to Dr Elliotson, and contains one story, 'The carpenter', which bears signs of a response to W. H. Ainsworth's advice that Overs should write from his own experience. In his preface Dickens is careful to emphasize Overs's autonomy, stating that although he had given advice to the author on this collection of short pieces, he 'never altered them, otherwise than by recommending condensation now and then', and assuring the reader that the volume's sketches represented Overs's 'genuine work, as they have been his sober and rational amusement'" (DNB). They remained close until Overs death in 1844: "When poor Overs was dying he suddenly asked for a pen and ink and some paper, and made up a little parcel for me which it was his last conscious act to direct. She [Amelia Overs] told me this and gave it me. I opened it last night. It was a copy of his little book in which he had written my name, 'With his devotion.' I thought it simple and affecting of the poor fellow" (Letters of Charles Dickens, 4.240). A VERY FINE ASSOCIATION COPY. (2)