[the Hatton / Jackson set] With Thirty Illustrations by H. Woods. [In eleven monthly serial parts.] London: Bradbury, Evans, and Co., 1869-1870. Original blue-grey wrappers printed in black and orange.

First Edition, in the original eleven serial parts, of this novel "written chiefly with the idea of exciting not only pity but also sympathy for a fallen woman" [per Trollope's autobiography]. Carry Brattle, the Bullhampton miller's daughter, seduced and then rejected by a lover, was "exiled" to London; her brother Sam would in turn be accused of a murder; the town Vicar, who had earlier befriended the young boy, supports him and provides the push toward finding the real murderers.

In 1868 THE VICAR was contracted to appear serially in Bradbury & Evans's literary periodical Once a Week -- but by the time the novel was finished, the weekly was over-committed, so B&E resorted to issuing it in monthly parts instead -- hence the unusual (and low) number of parts.

THE VICAR came out in eleven monthly parts, issued from July 1869 through May 1870 (the book edition was published in April 1870). The first ten parts were priced at one shilling, the last (a double-number) at half-a-crown. As Sadleir points out, there are actually 35 illustrations, not 30 as indicated on the title page (each wrapper reads "with upwards of thirty illustrations"): 23 full-page plates, plus twelve vignettes (title page plus eleven chapter headings).

By 1869-1870, the popularity of the serial-parts format was dying out (like its champion, Charles Dickens -- who would die the month after this title's final part came out). It is believed that these factors led B&E to issue THE VICAR in small numbers: of the eight Trollope novels that were initially issued serially, THE VICAR is the scarcest after the impossible RALPH THE HEIR (issued by Strahan in 1870-1871) -- of which the most-recent set to appear at auction (the Jackson set) sold in 2011 for $88,900.

This set includes ALL of the advertising matter specified by Sadleir -- which frankly is not all that much (with "nil" in Parts 4-10), due to the serial novel's lack of popularity.

Condition is near-fine (expert restoration at some backstrips, a small stain to the first and last internal leaf of several parts); there is very little actual wear, and the plates are clean and free of foxing. In all, an exceptional set of one of the scarcest Trollope novels in parts. Sadleir pp 108-111 -- who even in 1928 was saying "Owing to the rarity of THE VICAR OF BULLHAMPTON in this form [parts], I have not been able to examine as many sets as I could have wished." Housed in a morocco-backed slipcase with inner chemise. Provenance: bookplates of Thomas Hatton (1876-1943, co-bibliographer of Dickens in parts) and of Robert & Donna Jackson. Item #14337

Price: $11,500.00

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