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DICKENS, Charles.

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

With Illustrations by Phiz.

London, Chapman and Hall, 1839 Stock Code: 138737

The copy of his friend William Henry Wills

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First edition, in the publisher's deluxe binding of half morocco. Following the serialization in parts, Dombey and Son was issued in book-form in cloth, full morocco, and the present half morocco. The deluxe bindings of Dickens have been somewhat marginalized by bibliographers, but it is certainly the case that they are significantly scarcer than the cloth issues. Dickens had been catapulted to fame with the success of The Pickwick Papers, and to secure his next novel Chapman and Hall offered Dickens 150 a part, a sum ten times greater than that which he had received for Pickwick. It met with great public enthusiasm, which has continued unabated: Dickens's biographer Ackroyd stated that the novel "has some title to being the funniest novel Dickens ever wrote; it is perhaps the funniest novel in the English language" (Peter Ackroyd, Dickens, pp. 262).
This copy has a particularly nice association, with the bookplate to the front pastedown of Charles Dickens's friend, the British playwright, journalist, and newspaper editor William Henry Wills (1810-1880). Wills began his friendship with Dickens in 1846, when he worked as sub-editor of The Daily News under Dickens's editorship, and afterwards invested in and worked for Dickens's Household Words and All the Year Round. "In addition to this increasingly close business relationship, Wills and Dickens became good friends, with Wills serving as a highly trusted confidant. Dickens went so far as to entrust Wills with the transmission of his letters to his mistress Ellen Ternan during Dickens's 18678 American reading tour. As Dickens had put it on 2 January 1862: 'I think we can say that we doubt whether any two men can have gone on more happily and smoothly, or with greater trust or confidence in one another' (Letters, 10.2). It is significant that his friendship with Wills was 'one of the few unbroken relationships Dickens experienced in his lifetime' (Spencer, 145)" (ODNB). Also with the bookplate to the front free endpaper of Sir William Overend Priestley (1829-1900), British physician, and Conservative Member of Parliament for Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities from 1896 to 1900.

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Octavo (213 x 134 mm). Original purple half morocco, spine lettered in gilt, marbled sides and endpapers.


Engraved portrait frontispiece, 39 engraved plates by Phiz.


Light rubbing skilfully retouched, small chip at head of spine, some browning to plates and title page. A very good copy.


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