Sketches by "Boz," [First and Second Series]

Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-day People.

DICKENS, Charles

DICKENS' FIRST WORK

DICKENS, Charles Sketches by "Boz," [First and Second Series] Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-day People.

John Macrone, 1836.

First editions. Three volumes. Finely bound by Bayntun in recent full red morocco, with raised bands, gilt borders to covers and titles to spine. Gilt cartouche depicting Dickens in an oval frame to the upper cover and his signature embossed in gilt to the lower cover of each volume. All edges gilt. Twenty-six steel engraved plates by George Cruikshank (sixteen in the first series and ten in the second). A little browning to the plates in vol. I, otherwise a fine, clean set in a handsome binding.

Dickens's career as a writer of fiction began in 1833, when as a political journalist, he wrote a series of 'sketches' or observations on society, under the pen name of Boz, to be published in The Monthly Magazine. In 1835, acquaintance and young publisher John Macrone approached Dickens with the idea of publishing his stories in book form, offering £100 for the copyright. As Dickens's income at the time was £382 a year, this was a princely sum, and he approached the project with some enthusiasm, rewriting a number of the previously published stories and adding some new ones, notably 'A Visit to Newgate' and 'The Black Veil'. A further feather in the caps of both author and publisher was securing the services of the much better known George Cruikshank to illustrate the book, which instigated a relationship that was to be mutually fruitful throughout much of Dickens's and Cruikshank's careers.
Sketches by Boz was published in 1836, to glowing reviews, helped in no small way by Dickens's own literary and journalistic contacts, and sold smartly, so that a second edition was published within the year, followed by a third in the following year. The book was the catalyst to Dickens's meteoric rise to literary fame that would in due course lead to him being regarded as the foremost writer of the Victorian age.
It is likely that 'Sketches' was originally conceived as a three volume work, but that Dickens wanted to include more material than would comfortably fit into a uniform third volume, so it was decided to issue two volumes followed by a separate 'second series' some ten months later.
Exact publication numbers are not known, but Macrone was a small establishment, so it is unlikely that each edition consisted of more that a couple of thousand copies.

Smith 1&2; Sadleir 699

Stock ID: 34542

£2,250.00

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