London, South Kensington
1 June 2009
[DICKENS, Charles]. The Strange Gentleman: A Comic Burletta. London: Chapman and Hall, 1837.
8° (182 x 112mm). Etched frontispiece after Hablot K. Browne. Extra-illustrated with an etched plate by and after F.W. Pailthorpe. (Frontispiece restored at margins, title slightly spotted, spotting to end leaf, without final blank.) Brown morocco gilt by Riviere, top edge gilt. Provenance: Frederick Burgess, Burgess Hall, Finchley (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION of "the scarcest and costliest of all Dickens pamphlets" (Eckel), with the misprint "enough to suggest something" on p. 5. Based on his story of "The Great Winglebury Duel", this comic burletta was the first Dickens play to be publicly performed, opening at the St. James's Theatre on 29 September 1836 and running for over fifty performances. Both Phiz's frontispiece and Pailthorpe's plate, executed for the 1871 facsimile edition, depict John Pritt Harley in the lead role. As Eckel notes, copies with the frontispiece are particularly rare. Eckel pp. 154-156; Gimbel A26.
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