2 April 2008
DICKENS, Charles. Hard Times. For These Times. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1854.
8o (188 x 124 mm). Original green moiré cloth, ruled in blind on covers, gilt-lettered on spine (slightest wear at extremities, a few tiny scuffs and stains on covers, otherwise fine and bright); red quarter morocco slipcase. Provenance: Baroness Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts (1814-1906), lifelong friend of Dickens (pencil signature on first text leaf; bookplate); Kenyon Starling (booplate).
THE BURDETT-COUTTS COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION IN BOOK FORM, IN THE FIRST BINDING. Hard Times was Dickens's tenth novel, first serialized in Household Words, 1 April-12 August 1854. It is the shortest of Dickens's novels and is the only novel besides Great Expectations that was published without illustrations. Baroness Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts was the daughter of radical politician and reformer Francis Burdett. She met Dickens in 1838 or 39 and became intimate friends. Dickens worked with her closely on her many philanthropic projects, including Ragged Schools, Urania College and the rehabilitation of low-income housing in Bethnal Green. Baroness Coutts knew of Dickens's marital difficulties and tried unsuccessfully to reconcile the author and his wife. Sadleir 689; Smith I:11; Yale/Gimbel A136.
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