With Illustrations by Launcelot Speed. London: Chapman and Hall, 1901. Original blue cloth decorated in gilt.
First Edition of Gissing's last novel to be published during his lifetime. He had a tough time writing it: he began it as THE COMING MAN, then laid it aside to write AMONG THE PROPHETS (a novel which he destroyed, and which does not survive), and finally returned to it, not settling upon the final title until he was correcting the typescript. This was the third and last of his novels to be published by Chapman and Hall; the others had been two of his earliest, THE UNCLASSED and ISABEL CLARENDON. OUR FRIEND THE CHARLATAN is his only novel that was illustrated as a first edition; C&H commissioned the illustrations without telling Gissing, and he was not happy with them ("pictures have no place in a novel").~This is a near-fine copy, with the gilt quite bright (spine slightly darkened, very minor rubbing at some extremities). In our opinion this and SLEEPING FIRES are the scarcest of Gissing's later (post three decker format) novels. Coustillas A22.1a; Collie A22a; Spiers & Coustillas AA1. Item #13746