THE MARTINS OF CRO' MARTIN.
With Illustrations by "Phiz." London: Chapman and Hall, 1856. Original blind-stamped green cloth.
First Edition in book form, following publication in monthly serial parts.
[This novel] depicts the fall of a Connemara estate in the period between Catholic Emancipation (1829) and the Great Famine (1845-1849)... Even as he asserts that the fall of the landed gentry brings disastrous upheaval to a traditional society, Lever insists on the inevitability of such collapse... Lever's reforming Anglo-Irish heroine Mary Martin is doomed to defeat and early death, unable to stem the costs of her absentee family's arrogant isolation from their tenants and neglect of their responsibilities as landlords. [Kreilkamp]
Included are forty plates (including frontispiece and vignette title) by Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz"). This is a hefty 625-page volume, bound in simple blind-stamped green cloth -- much like Dickens's novels of the same era like BLEAK HOUSE and LITTLE DORRIT -- which is too big a book for the binding used, with the result that few copies survive today in original cloth. Here however is a remarkable survival, in near-fine condition (subtle repair at the head of the spine with nothing new added, spine slightly faded as usual for green). Bound in at the front is a front cover wrapper from serialization. Sadleir 1410; Woolff 4093. Provenance: the front endpaper bears the 1856 signature of W.E. Essington. Item #14265