Our Mutual Friend. London: Chapman and Hall, 1865
8vo (214 x 134mm.), FIRST BOOK EDITION, 40 wood-engraved illustrations by Marcus Stone, PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR ON THE DEDICATION PAGE TO HIS FRIEND CHARLES KENT ("Charles Dickens. | To Charles Kent. | Seventeenth November, 1865"), bound without the advertisements or the 'To the Reader' slip, contemporary half red morocco gilt, marbled boards and endpapers, all edges gilt, preserved in red silk cases and matching quarter red morocco slipcase, slight edge-wear to binding OTHERWISE A VERY FINE COPY
A SUPERB PRESENTATION COPY OF DICKENS' LAST FULLY-COMPLETED NOVEL.
Our Mutual Friend originally appeared in twenty numbers between May 1864 and November 1865 (see lot 196). The first volume of the book edition appeared on 20 January 1865, and the second on 21 October. This presentation copy therefore is inscribed shortly after the complete work was published.
The writer and journalist Charles Kent [pseud. Mark Rochester] (1823–1902) became editor of The Sun newspaper in December 1845, and later its proprietor. The Sun was one of the few papers to carry book reviews, and it was through this that Kent came to know many of the writers of the day: this included Dickens, who had written to thank the editor for a very favourable review of Dombey and Son. Their subsequent meeting was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Kent would contribute to Dickens's Household Words and All the Year Round, later collected as Footprints on the Road (1864), dedicated to Dickens, to which the novelist responded, " it most heartily gratifies me, as the sincere tribute of a true and generous heart" (Letters of Charles Dickens, 6 Nov 1865). Kent organized the lavish final dinner before Dickens's 1867 trip to America and wrote of these performances in Charles Dickens as Reader (1872). The journalist was the recipient of the last letter Dickens ever wrote, which he presented to the British Museum in 1879. In addition to Dickens, he was friends with Leigh Hunt, the first and second Lord Lytton, Charles Reade, Robert Browning, George Meredith, Wilkie Collins, and Matthew Arnold.
Smith I:15; Gimbel A150; Sadleir 697; Woolf 1809
William Charles Kent (1823-1902), journalist and editor, close friend of Dickens, authorial inscription; Seth Sprague Terry and Ward E. Terry, bookplate, their sale at the American Art Association/Anderson Galleries, 4 December 1935, lot 126; Comte Alain de Suzannet, bookplate (recorded in his annotated 1934 Lausanne catalogue as purchased at "Inman. 1. 1936: $1000"), sale of his collection at Sotheby's, 22 November 1971, lot 130; William E. Self, book-label, sale at Christie's New York, 4 December 2009, lot 99
Condition is described in the main body of the cataloguing, where appropriate.
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