THE BATTLE OF LIFE. A Love Story.
London: Bradbury & Evans, 1846. 2 pp undated ads. Original red cloth pictorially decorated in gilt, all page edges gilt.
First Edition of the fourth of Dickens's five illustrated Christmas books -- following A CHRISTMAS CAROL, THE CHIMES, and THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH, and preceding THE HAUNTED MAN. This is an unusual tale in which two sisters love the same man, both ultimately settling in with him (though only one is married to him) -- according to Thackeray "a wretched affair." It is in fact quite autobiographical: Dickens loved Mary Hogarth, married her sister Catherine, and then was happy to have his household run by their sister Georgina.
This copy has the vignette title page in the fourth and usual state (Todd's state E1), with an angel holding the banner and with no publisher's imprint; in our experience, at least 90% and perhaps 95% of the copies encountered are of this state. This is a bright, near-fine copy, with very little wear; atypically, the original delicate endpapers are not cracked (the front paste-down bears the bookplate of the late Chicago professor Thomas S. Moch, and a small corner of the rear paste-down is chipped). Smith II pp 60-65; Podeschi (Yale) A116. Item #15191