DICKENS, Charles (1812-1870). A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. London: Chapman & Hall, 1843. 8° (165 x 102mm). Half-title printed in blue, title-page printed in red and blue, verso printed in blue, and with 2 pages of adverts. Etched frontispiece and three plates by John Leech, all hand-coloured, and four wood-engravings in the text by W.J. Linton after Leech. (Some spotting and soiling.) Original brown cloth, spine and upper side blocked in gilt and sides framed in blind, the nearest gap between the two 15mm and the 'D' unbroken, edges gilt, green coated endpapers (text block slanted, cloth lifting slightly, some soiling, corners rubbed, endpaper rubbed).
FIRST EDITION, FIRST IMPRESSION IN THE FIRST STATE BINDING, of this masterpiece of English literature, and arguably the most widely read and best known of Dickens's works. It was written in a frenzy of less than a month with passion echoed in a letter to his American friend Professor Cornelius Felton: 'over which Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens wept, and laughed, and wept again, and excited himself in a most extraordinary manner in the composition; and thinking whereof, he walked about the black streets of London, fifteen and twenty miles, many a night when all the sober folks had gone to bed.' The text as called for, with 'Stave I' as the first chapter heading and the balance of the text uncorrected. Eckel, p. 110; Kitton, pp. 33-37; Smith II:4.