Bradbury & Evans, 1849-1850. First Edition. wrappers. 20 vols. in 19, a serialization sequentially published over 1 1/2 years. 1st edition, 1st issue, in the original monthly parts, preceding all other editions, and read the next sentence deliberately, because the distressing phrase you inevitably see is “almost every” while the happy phrase you are about to see is “each and every.” This set conforms to each and every point in Hatton & Cleaver (all erratum, the correct covers, all ads, all samples, and all 40 inserted plates by H. K. Browne, including the frontispiece and vignette title). And perfection is important in a Dickens parts serialization because later ads are the telltale sign of later issue, in many cases months later, so do not discount comprehensiveness as mere frill, or turn your back on it the way you would on a drunk woman, haphazardly seated nearby at a dinner party, who relentlessly keeps insisting that you name your favorite Powerpuff Girl. Original wrappers, neat repairs to backstrips, light wear at edges, else a very good set (the old–fashioned very good), infrequently offered for sale so clean, complete, upright and intact, a stirring combination of quality, magnitude, precedence, and inclusiveness. Full dark blue morocco case. Collation: Octavo (8 1/8” X 5 9/16”). [i-vii] viii [ix] x-xii [xiii] xiv [xv-xvi], , 2–624. Reference: Hatton and Cleaver, pp. 253–272. Eckel, pp. 75–77. Very good. Item #66
Raising his game, at the height of his powers, Dickens explores writing in the first person and achieves the great novel of initiation, finding the ideal balance between the bustling energy of his early works and the mature sense of design exhibited here for the first time. The plotline is pierced by an unsettling exposé of the treatment inflicted on Victorian children, and this is buttressed by poignant statements about the terrors and torments of youth coming of age, most of which apply in any era, and successfully concluding his quest, the novel ends with a glimpse of the grown man. Dickens began to write it as pure autobiography, but he found the naked facts too personal, accordingly, many of the events are drawn from his personal experiences, but many more are fictionalized from his keen reconnaissance of life. However, Micawber can be no other than Dickens’ father, and there is no doubt that David Copperfield is Dickens himself. And knowing that he had laid the needle against the redline pin on the great–ometer, he openly stated, more than once, that Copperfield was his favorite from among all his books.