The Adventures of Oliver Twist;
or, The Parish Boy's Progress. With twenty-four illustrations on steel, by George Cruikshank. A new edition, revised and corrected.London: for the author, by Bradbury & Evans, 1846 Stock Code: 147993
First one-volume edition of Dickens's second novel, bound from the original ten monthly parts as published from January to October 1846, with the stab-holes visible; handsomely bound.
Oliver Twist was first published serially between February 1837 and April 1839 in Bentley's Miscellany, and as a three-volume book by Richard Bentley in 1838. This single volume was substantially revised by Dickens, who had bought back his copyright from Bentley; many of his revisions were in the direction of a more dramatic rendering of the text, in light of his experience of public readings. The result is this edition presents the definitive text, and is scarcer than the preceding three-volume edition: "many collectors prize this edition very highly and consequently it is the more valuable of the Oliver Twists" (Eckel, p. 62).
"Oliver Twist was originally conceived as a satire on the new poor law of 1834 which herded the destitute and the helpless into harshly run union workhouses, and which was perceived by Dickens as a monstrously unjust and inhumane piece of legislation (he was still fiercely attacking it in Our Mutual Friend in 1865). Once the scene shifted to London, however, Oliver Twist developed into a unique and compelling blend of a 'realistic' tale about thieves and prostitutes and a melodrama with strong metaphysical overtones. The pathos of little Oliver (the first of many such child figures in Dickens), the farcical comedy of the Bumbles, the sinister fascination of Fagin, the horror of Nancy's murder, and the powerful evocation of London's dark and labyrinthine criminal underworld, all helped to drive Dickens's popularity to new heights" (ODNB).
Octavo (210 x 130 mm). Late 19th-century tree calf by Mansell, twin red and brown morocco labels, spine gilt in compartments, marbled endpapers, gilt edges.
With 24 steel-engraved plates by George Cruikshank; extra-illustrated with portrait frontispiece of Dickens after Maclise, and with the front wrapper of the original part I bound at front.
Joints and extremities neatly restored, plates somewhat browned as usual; a very good copy.
Gimbel A39; Kremers pp. 90-3.
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