London: Blackie & Son, 1898. 1 preliminary page undated ads. Original deep red cloth.
First Edition, being a volume in the publisher's "Victorian Era Series." In late 1896 Gissing was invited, by his old college friend John Holland Rose, to contribute a monograph on Dickens for a new series of volumes to be published by the Glasgow publisher Blackie & Son (Rose was to be general editor of the series). Gissing readily accepted, and spent much of the first half of 1897 re-reading Dickens novels; in July Blackie announced the series, and shortly thereafter Gissing left his second wife for good, fleeing to Italy where he actually wrote CHARLES DICKENS (published in February 1898).
This copy is in the primary state, with the publisher's name at the foot of the spine and with the preliminary ad leaf listing on the recto four titles (including this one) as "Ready", and on the verso eight titles "In preparation." (Later states have no publisher's imprint on the spine, and have either of two later states of the ad leaf.) Condition is near-fine (minor rubbing at the extremities, spine slightly faded as usual). Coustillas A191a; Collie A19a; Spiers & Coustillas X1; Wolff 2543. Item #14888