or, The Parish Boy's Progress. With Twenty-four Illustrations on Steel, by George Cruikshank. A New Edition, Revised and Corrected. London: Published for the Author by Bradbury & Evans, 1846. Original blind-stamped violet-grey cloth with spine pictorially decorated in gilt.
First English One-Volume Edition, and the first with the text substantially revised by Dickens (having bought the copyright back from the original publisher Bentley, Dickens re-wrote many passages to make them more dramatic). The first edition was published in 1838, a "second edition" in 1838-1839, and a "third edition" in 1841 -- all in three volumes. The novel was then "revised and corrected" by Dickens for the 1846 issuance in ten serial parts and for this corresponding one-volume octavo edition. Included is Dickens's noteworthy Preface to the Third Edition, in which he responds to readers' reluctance to believe that Nancy would keep returning to the abusive Bill Sykes ("It has been observed of this girl, that her devotion to the brutal housebreaker does not seem natural... It is useless to discuss whether the conduct and character of the girl seems natural or unnatural, probable or improbable, right or wrong. IT IS TRUE."). The original cloth binding is a handsome one, with gilt wreath on the front cover and with three gilt pictorial vignettes on the spine.
This copy has stab-holes visible throughout (text and plates): this means that these particular leaves were initially issued in the serial parts (at the end of which, serial readers were encouraged to bring in their parts to have them bound into this cloth, just as new readers were encouraged to buy a copy in the same binding but made up from leaves not used in the parts).
Condition overall is very good-plus (minor wear at the binding extremities, front free endpaper pasted down, mainly-marginal foxing on some of the 24 Cruikshank plates). This first one-volume edition revised by Dickens is rather uncommon (the 1846 serial parts more-so); "Eckel, mentioning the rarity of this item, questions whether a single copy could be found" [Carr]. Smith 4, note 5h; Gimbel A39; Carr B98. Housed in a handsome clamshell case with leather spine and label -- bearing the bookplate of the fastidious collectors Jeremy & Penny Martin, whose books were sold at a London auction. Item #15000