2 April 2008
DICKENS, Charles. Oliver Twist. Philadelphia: T.K and P.G. Collins for Lea and Blanchard, 1839.
2 volumes, 8o (179 x 113 mm). 2-page publisher's advertisement for other Dickens works at front of vol. 1 and 16-page publisher's catalogue at end of vol. 2. (Some pale spotting.) Original rose muslin-backed boards, printed paper spine labels (spines a bit darkened, hinges cracked, labels a bit worn). Provenance: George Brandish (signature dated May 1839 on titles); Kenyon Starling (bookplate).
FIRST COMPLETE AMERICAN EDITION IN BOOK FORM . The first two chapters of Oliver Twist had first appeared in America in Bentley's Magazine (1837), followed by an abridged version by Carey, Lea & Blanchard issued as a prospectus for use of salesman (1838). A parts issue was published in New York by James Turney in 1838. According to the publisher's notice facing the title: "a large portion of the last part of Oliver Twist having been sent to the American Publishers in manuscript, they hasten to place before the public the work complete in the present form. At the same time, they have to regret that the illustrations by Cruikshank, were not ready to accompany the manuscript from London. On their receipt, no delay will take place in laying the remainder of the illustrated edition before the public." In fact, it was reprinted from the three volume London edition as evidenced from the fact that Chapter I begins "Among other public buildings in a certain town..." Lea and Blanchard were one of the great American literary publishers of the time. Their catalogue at the end of vol. 2 lists new works by Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Dickens (Pickwick Papers, Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist, Sketches by Boz and Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi). All early American editions are very rare, with only a copy of a later New York edition appearing in American Book Prices Current in the last thirty years. Edgar & Vail, p. 17; Wilkins, pp.13-14; Yale/Gimbel A33. (2)
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