Little Dorrit. Bradbury and Evans, December 1855--June 1857
8vo (220 x 142mm), FIRST EDITION IN THE ORIGINAL 19/20 parts, 40 plates etched on steel by "Phiz"' (Hablot.K. Browne), including EIGHT "DARK" PLATES, first issue with reading "Rigaud" for "Blandois" on pp.469, 470, 472 and 473 (part 15), correction slip in part 16, with all the advertisements and slips called for by Hatton & Cleaver, preserved in collector's folding box, some tiny tears to edges of leaves at the end of the final part 19/20 issue, spine of same issue and also part 2 with repaired tears, some foxing throughout OTHERWISE A FINE SET
An unusually fresh set of the parts-issue of Dickens' fine satirical novel, the third in his "condition-of-England" novels, returning to the broad sweep of Bleak House, and centering on a filthy and corrupted London: "an almost unredeemably gloomy London, with its 'deadly sewer', once a fine fresh river, running through it, its overworked people denied natural beauty, its melancholy streets 'gloomy, close, and stale', its broken old houses on whose steps sit 'light children nursing heavy children', and smart, cheap new houses with absurdly got-up footmen and grooms lounging outside...Everything offends the senses...Dickens dislikes so much of what he sees, hears and smells -- partly the London of his childhood, partly London in the 1850s -- that the jokes are almost all uncomfortable or bitter..." (Tomalin, p.260). Sales for Little Dorrit were even better than for Bleak House, with the first number in November 1855 selling 35,000 copies, and sometimes climbing in the ensuing months to 40,000 and hardly ever dipping below 30,000 throughout the entire run. Dickens made more from the serial sales than for any other novel, £600 a month.
Eckel, p.82; Hatton and Cleaver p.305
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