DICKENS, Charles.

The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain.

A fancy for Christmas-Time.

London: Bradbury & Evans, 1848 Stock Code: 143199
£50,000.00
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Presentation copy to William Haldimand

First edition, presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the half-title "William Haldimand Esquire With the cordial remembrance and regard of Charles Dickens Twenty ninth March 1849".

A former director of the Bank of England and a Member of Parliament for Ipswich, William Haldimand (1784-1862) was the brother-in-law of William de Cerjat, one of Dickens's lifelong friends and correspondents. Dickens met Haldimand during his visit to Switzerland in 1846, where Haldimand had retired in 1828. This was a time of some mental frustration for Dickens, and he gained some relief by reading the first number of Dombey and Son to Haldimand and Cerjat. Haldimand's friendship was evidently of some significance to Dickens he named his seventh child Sydney Smith Haldimand Dickens.

The Haunted Man, published on 19 December 1848, was the fifth and final of Dickens's Christmas books. "As soon as he returned from Broadstairs to London, he started work on the Christmas Book he had for so long been contemplating, a book about lost time. The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain is concerned with the power of memory, with family life which is destroyed and replaced only by the wretched anxieties of a distinguished but solitary man... the theme itself revolves around Dickens's belief that memory is a softening and chastening power, that the recollections of old sufferings and old wrongs can be used to touch the heart and elicit sympathy with the sufferings of others... It has been said that in this autobiographical fragment Dickens is only suppressing his feelings of hurt and jealous rage, but it seems more likely that he was actively involved, after Fanny's death, in the process of transcending them" (Ackroyd, p. 553).

Provenance: the Comte Alain de Suzannet, with his bookplate to front pastedown (this copy not recorded in the catalogue for the sale of his collection at Sotheby's, 22 November 1971); the collector Michael Sharpe, morocco book-label to front pastedown; the Lawrence Drizen Collection of Charles Dickens.

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Description

Octavo. Original red cloth, titles and decoration to spine and front cover in gilt, frame stamped in blind to covers, yellow endpapers, gilt edges. Housed in a custom red half morocco box and chemise.

Illustrations

Frontispiece, engraved title page, and 15 illustrations in the text, by Leech, Stanfield, Tenniel and Stone.

Condition

Neat early ownership signature to front free endpaper. Wear at spine and joint ends, top of backstrip loosening, light soiling and rubbing to cloth front hinge starting, initial leaves loosening but stitching holding; still very good copy in the original cloth.

Bibliography

Eckel p. 124; Smith, II, 9, pp. 68-70. Peter Ackroyd, Dickens, 1990.

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