Bleak House.London: Bradbury and Evans, 1853 Stock Code: 147834
First edition, bound from the original parts as issued between March 1852 and September 1853; handsomely bound.
"The satire of Bleak House focuses on the obfuscations and delays of the court of chancery which result in widespread human misery and suffering, but the novel's complicated plot and centripetal organization bring into the picture a great cross-section of contemporary English society... Writing at the height of his powers, Dickens adopts a virtuoso form of double narration, and the novel has since the middle of the twentieth century been widely acclaimed as his greatest work" (ODNB).
Of note is the inclusion of ten dark plates, a new mode of illustration particularly fitting to the novel: "As Dickens's vision of society darkened, Browne adjusted his techniques, pioneering in the use of 'dark plates', where the plate was machine-ruled in parallel grooves which printed an almost uniform tone either before or after the figures and background were hand drawn. These brooding, atmospheric designs harmonized with the gloomy, foggy world of Bleak House and Little Dorrit" (Schlicke, p. 59).
Octavo (214 x 134 mm). Late 19th-century tree calf by Mansell, twin red and brown morocco labels, spine gilt in compartments, marbled endpapers, gilt edges.
Etched frontispiece, vignette title-page, and 38 plates (including the 10 "dark" plates) by "Phiz" ( H. K. Browne). With the front wrapper of the original part I bound at front.
Bound without half-title. Joints and extremities neatly restored, frontispiece and vignette title page browned and offset, afterwards clean save for light toning around some plate extremities. A very good copy.
Eckel p. 79; Kremers pp. 100-3; Smith I, 10.
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