[20-in-19 serial parts] With Illustrations by Phiz. London: Chapman and Hall, May 1848 - November 1849. 20-in-19 serial parts, in the original cream wrappers.
First Edition, in the 20-in-19 monthly serial parts.~The outsider in Lever is a person who is ostracized, ignored, downgraded, put upon, misjudged, or deprived... Like Lever himself [as an Irishman writing largely for the British public], many of his characters are people haunted by the notion of attaining a centre from which they are precluded. Then, when they do arrive, they discover there is no centre... The ending of ROLAND CASHEL is typical; after [20 serial parts] in which the outsider protagonist has eventually struggled through to the fulfilment of his ambitions,... we get the terse and dismissive observation 'Roland Cashel and his wife live at Tubbermore, the envied of the envious.' That extraordinary one-sentence dismissal signals Lever's lack of interest in the hero once the hero has achieved his centrality; indeed it offers a strong implicit judgement upon the relative value of centrality itself. [Bareham].~There are 40 plates (including a vignette title page) by "Phiz" (Hablot K. Browne); beginning in mid-1849, "Phiz" was simultaneously providing two plates per month for another tale -- DAVID COPPERFIELD. All ads appear to be present (including the small-but-thick Mechi booklet inside the front wrapper of Part I), but unlike serial editions of works by writers like Dickens and Thackeray, there is no bibliographic "census" of serial ads for the works of Lever.~Condition of most parts is near-fine, with minor soil but with little wear -- though as usual, the Part I front wrapper and the Part XIX/XX rear wrapper do show some wear (not affecting print). See Sadleir 1417 and Wolff 4100 for the subsequent one-volume edition. Housed in a handsome clamshell case with leather label, with inner cloth chemise. Item #13850