London: Chapman and Hall, 1844. Hardcover. Very Good. Item #46711
8vo. First edition in book form, second issue. Half dark blue morocco, blue cloth boards, gilt compartments, brown calf spine label. Marbled edges and endpapers. xiv, [1 14-line errata leaf], 624 pp.  plates steel engravings by H.K. Browne, plus engraved title and frontis, bound without the half-title. Vignette on title-page with amount on sign post transposed to read "100£" and seven studs in the trunk. The 100£ reward sign on title is often referred to as a first issue point, though Hatton and Cleaver contend that there is no priority and that both plates were used in the monthly parts which preceded this first book edition. According to Smith "An earlier 13-line errata leaf exists with the same data that is found on the 14-line leaf; the setting was changed to 14-lines for a better balance." "A Tribute to Genius, Centenary Testimonial, 1812-1912" stamp with portrait of Dickens to ffep. Rubbing to extremities. Hinges cracked. Browning to plates as often, else quite clean to interior. Spot to plate facing p. 59. Short tear to tail of p. 463. Seems to have all points in "Dickens and Dickensiana" by John Podeschi except for wrappers. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit originally appeared in twenty numbers bound in nineteen monthly parts January 1843-July 1844 and first appeared in book format in July 1844. It was the last of Dickens's picaresque novels. Dickens thought it to be his best work - which the author himself described as by "a hundred points immeasurably the best of my stories". The theme is "selfishness, portrayed in a satirical fashion" through the characters, against the backdrop of 19th century America. Dickens's biographer describes Martin Chuzzlewit as marking "a great change in Dickens's conception of moral characteristics. For the first time Dickens begins to explore the contradictions and difficulties of the contemporary human world; these are no longer figures defined by a single characteristic or animated by the willful principle of a 'humour', but ones who are seen to change with the changing world, to live and grow" (Ackroyd, p. 392). Smith I.7. Peter Ackroyd, Dickens, 1990. Provenance: Bookplates of Joseph Beard of Alderley, Thomas H. Means, John Ruyle. Thomas H. Means (b. 1875, Virginia; d. 1965, Berkeley) was an agricultural engineer who worked in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Bureau of Soils and later opened a private consulting firm in San Francisco. John Ruyle was a book collector and printer from Berkeley, but I'm not 100% sure it's the same guy because his pencil inscription on the flyleaf doesn't seem like it matches the handwriting of his other inscribed books...but Means dying in Berkeley in '65 around the time Ruyle was writing and collecting there strengthens the connection.
Price (CAD): $1,250.00