4 December 2009
DICKENS, Charles. Our Mutual Friend. London: Chapman and Hall, May 1864-November 1865.
20 parts in 19, 8o (220 x 142 mm). Half-titles, "To the Reader" slip tipped to first text leaf. Wood-engraved frontispiece and 39 wood engravings after Marcus Stone by Dalziel and W.T. Green. (Some occasional minor mostly marginal spotting.) Original green pictorial printed wrappers, uncut, some leaves opened (a few parts rebacked, some repairs to spines and wrappers, a few chips and light stains); red morocco pull-off case. Provenance: Gilford MacDonagh (signature dated "1865" on half-title of volume one in part 10).
FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL MONTHLY PARTS, first issue of part 1 without the printer's imprint on front wrapper, with the scarce slip addressed to the reader. "The Our Mutual Friend Advertiser" in each part and virtually all other inserted advertisements as listed in Hatton and Cleaver, including the "Economic Life Assurance Society" ad and the slip "Foreign Bank Notes" both in parts 19/20. Only lacking the scarce "Economic Life Assurance" ad in part 14.
Our Mutual Friend was Dickens's last completed novel, and it had been nearly a decade since his last monthly serial, Little Dorrit, had been published. He had in the interval published two novels (A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations) in weekly parts in All the Year Round, but they were much shorter and required a different style than that he had developed for his monthly parts. Marcus Stone's illustrations, engraved on wood by Dalziel and W.T. Green, mark a departure from the etchings on steel of Dickens's earlier published works. Eckel, pp. 94-5; Hatton & Cleaver, pp. 343-370; Yale/Gimbel A149.
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