Item #15248 MEMOIRS OF JOSEPH GRIMALDI. Edited by "Boz." Charles Dickens.


Embellished with a Portrait. New York: William H. Colyer, 1838. Original blue-grey paper-covered boards with rose-colored cloth spine with printed label.

First American Edition (? -- there was also a two-volume 1838 edition by Carey Lea & Blanchard of Philadelphia, precedence unknown). Dickens worked on this piece after OLIVER TWIST and before NICHOLAS NICKLEBY -- during the time leading up to his break with the publisher Bentley. There has been considerable controversy regarding just how much Dickens contributed to this book. We quote from Johnson's biography:

Bentley had acquired a life of the famous clown Grimaldi, long­windedly and clumsily arranged by Thomas Egerton Wilks from autobiographical notes. He [Bentley] proposed that Dickens revise it. Dickens stipulated that his name should appear only as editor, not as author, and demanded a minimum of 300 pounds and a half share of the profits after deduction of expenses, to which Bentley agreed. Dickens did no original writing, except for an introductory and possibly a concluding chapter. His revisions, mostly drastic abridgement, he dictated to his father, who vastly enjoyed his exalted office as amanuensis.

William Colyer published the work in America in the same year as the London edition, but in one volume; included is the frontispiece portrait of Grimaldi, with tissue guard, by Nathaniel Currier (of Currier & Ives).

Condition is very good to near-fine: there is some foxing on the blue boards (but not on the leaves within), and there is very slight edge-wear (as always the rose spine is faded). Quite remarkable for an 1838 volume in its original state. Podeschi (Yale) B66; Carr (UTexas) B602 (Carr identifies this as "second American, following the CL&B edition, but does not cite the dates or authority for this); this title not covered in W. Smith's bibliographies.

Provenance: the rear paste-down bears the ink-stamp of The Carl H. Pforzheimer Library (his Shelley collection was gifted to the New York Public Library, but much of his collection was subsequently acquired by the University of Texas). Item #15248

Price: $425.00

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