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18 December 2003
[DICKENS, Charles]. The Strange Gentleman; a Comic Burletta, in Two Acts. By "Boz." London: Chapman and Hall, 1837.
8o (195 x 130 mm). Original printed tan wrappers, UNOPENED AND UNCUT (minor soiling, some chipping and loss to backstrip). Provenance: Early owner's ink notation on front wrapper: "1st Edition Uncut Scarce original wrappers."
FIRST EDITION OF THIS EXTREMELY RARE PAMPHLET IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS --DICKENS' FIRST PUBLISHED PLAY
A WIDE-MARGINED COPY, UNOPENED AND UNCUT (measures 7 11/16 x 5 1/8 in). According to Eckel, The Strange Gentleman "has been the scarcest and the costliest of all Dickens pamphlets" (p. 154). The play was performed on September 29, 1836, and published the following year.
The Suzannet copy, rebound in red morocco, appeared in 1971 and again in 1984. Only two other copies have sold at auction since (both rebound). The only copy mentioned by Eckel in original printed tan wrappers was the Herman Le Roy Edgar copy, which was sold to him by Rosenbach, who called it "a large paper copy." The paucity of uncut copies makes a determination of issue by size tenuous. The present copy is the largest recorded copy of the handful of known copies. Copies appear to have been issued with a frontispiece by H.K. Browne ("Phiz") or without (as here). Eckel notes "some copies there are without the frontispiece." Variant wrapper issues are distinguished by color: tan, pink or lavender. The first facsimile was published by Chapman and Hall in 1871. Eckel, pp. 154-56; Gimbel Podeschi A26.
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