London: Bradbury and Evans, 1846. [English literature]. FIRST EDITION in one volume, also the first octavo edition. Octavo (23 x 16cm), pp.xii; 311; . With 24 steel engravings by Cruikshank (re-touched for this edition by Findlay). Bound c.1900 by Zaehnsdorf in mid-blue full morocco, gilt, with marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, others untrimmed, original cloth bound in at rear. Bookplate to pastedown, internally clean but for some mild toning to plates, binding fine with some gentle sunning to spine. A lovely fine copy of this important edition. Dickens' classic second novel, published one year after 'The Pickwick Papers', which publicised various hypocrisies and contemporary social evils, including the workhouse, child labour and the recruitment of children as criminals. Filled to the brim with the archetypal circus of Dickensian excesses; vicious thieves, ladies of negotiable virtue with hearts of gold, plucky urchins, cringeworthy Jewish gentlemen and undoubtedly a jolly fat person somewhere. Beautifully written, and beneath the pantomime, probably not such an inaccurate depiction of social realities in the age of empire. Item #47725
Gimbel Collection [A38], Grolier Club Catalogue .