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Great Expectations
Great Expectations
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“I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.”
Great Expectations

Charles Dickens, 1861

Details
Great Expectations
Charles Dickens, 1861
DICKENS, Charles (1812-1870). Great Expectations. London: Chapman and Hall, 1861.

First edition, first impressions of each volume; a fine and highly important association copy of Dickens’s most personal work. From the library of his publisher, Edward Chapman, in original publishers' cloth. Chapman was the more literary of the partners at Chapman and Hall and it was he who originated the idea to issue Pickwick in monthly parts, a method which Dickens used throughout his career and which contributed to his success. The four pencil underlinings in this copy point out grammatical errors and may have been made by Chapman himself. On each of these four pages an age-toned strip appears in the gutter, which apparently resulted from a page-marker left by a contemporary reader (most likely Chapman) to locate or query these errors.

Only 1000 copies of the first edition were published, with most of these copies going to libraries. This copy is remarkable in that it contains the earliest state of every point outlined in the extremely detailed analysis found in the Clarendon edition of Great Expectations (1993, Appendices C & D). A full list of issue points is available with the condition report. As in the Lawrence Drizen copy sold in 2019, the third volume here contains the numeral "3" in the pagination on p. 103, and the "i" in "inflexible" on p. 193, which are sometimes missing in copies of the first impression of the third volume, indicating that the present copy is among the earlier printings of the first impression. This copy also has the early reading of vol. 3, p. 192 with "himself" and "very carefully" on separate lines.

Three volumes, octavo. With the 32-page publisher's catalogue dated May 1861 at the end of vol. 3. Original publishers' violet wavy-grained cloth, blocked in blind, spines gilt, yellow-coated endpapers, edges plain (some minor rubbing to extremities, some faint spotting, upper cover of vol. 3 just starting, hinges tender and somewhat showing, still fine). [Tipped-in vol. 2:] DICKENS, Charles. Autograph addressed envelope (initial-signed "CD"), to his friend William W.F. de Cerjat, Lausanne, docketed Feb. 1, 1861. Quarter morocco slipcase. Provenance: Edward Chapman, 1804-1880, Dickens's publisher (bookplate in each volume, and possibly his pencil corrections on p. 162 and 164 [v. 2], p. 145 and p. 150 [v. 3]) – Waverly Auction, 20 November 2003, lot 43 – Donald G. Drapkin (his sale, Christie's New York, 29 June 2005, lot 97).

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Heather Weintraub
Heather Weintraub Specialist, Books, Manuscripts, & Archives

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