1838. or, The Parish Boy's Progress. By "Boz." In Three Volumes. London: Richard Bentley, 1838. 4 pp Vol I undated ads; 2 preliminary pp Vol III undated ads. Original purplish-brown fine-diaper cloth. First Edition, first issue, of this classic novel that has also been a hit as a Broadway musical. This is the "true first edition," not merely the "first edition in book form" -- as, unlike most of Dickens's novels, OLIVER TWIST was not first issued in monthly serial parts. It did appear in "Bentley's Miscellany" magazine from February 1837 through April 1839, but this three-volume edition was published in November 1838. (OLIVER TWIST was finally issued in ten serial parts in 1846 -- one of the scarcest "Dickens in parts.")~This copy is of the first issue -- with "Boz" on the title pages and with the "fireside" plate at the end of Vol III. Within a week after the first copies were issued, Dickens insisted that his name (rather than "Boz") appear on the title pages; he also insisted that the "church" plate replace the "fireside" plate at the end of the third volume.~This set is in the primary fine-diaper cloth (some copies are in horizontally-ribbed cloth of the same color, but with a different arabesque design -- precedence unknown). This copy does have the "London/Bentley" imprint at the foot of the spines, where some copies are blank; it has been surmised that the blank binding is earlier, if only because Bentley would have been more likely to add than to remove his name from the volumes -- though precedence is far from certain. Lastly, the list of illustrations in Vol I is present in this copy: again it is uncertain whether its absence or its presence was the earlier state, though it is possible that Bentley may have begun inserting it when he realized that George Cruikshank's name had otherwise been omitted from the publication. (Bear in mind that the second issue, with Dickens's name on the title pages, was out within a week of the first; therefore, all of these questions of precedence among issue points involve only a few days.)~Condition is very good, with minor edge-wear: the volumes appear to have been re-cased, and the (original yellow) endpapers are cracked despite the presence of early matching strips of paper in the gutters. Smith I pp 28-37; Gimbel A27; Eckel pp 59-61; Carter BV p. 107 and MBV p. 7. Housed in an open-back cloth case.
(Inventory #: 13428)
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