[in the original cloth] With Illustrations by Phiz. London: Chapman and Hall, 1844. Original blind-stamped diagonally-ribbed blue cloth.
First Edition in book form, published immediately at the conclusion of the 20-in-19 monthly serial parts (issued from January 1843 through July 1844). MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT marks Dickens's return to conventional serial parts, with separate plates, followed by a single octavo volume (as with NICHOLAS NICKLEBY in 1839); since then, he had tried weekly parts composed of a single illustrated folded sheet (MASTER HUMPHREY'S CLOCK, consisting of both THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP and BARNABY RUDGE, published all-together in book form in three oversized volumes). CHUZZLEWIT was the first of Dickens's novels to lose readers during serialization; when the publisher Hall accordingly suggested Dickens's fees should be reduced (though it never happened), it created a rift that was not bridged until Chapman and Hall published A TALE OF TWO CITIES in 1859.
Included are the forty plates by Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz"), two of which had appeared in each part.
This copy is in the primary cloth binding for MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT, blind-stamped diagonally-ribbed blue cloth. The errata leaf is in the usual 14-line state; the vignette title page has "100£" printed thus and has seven studs along the top edge of the trunk (Smith's state "1" -- one of three states, without precedence).
The volume's condition is very good-plus -- unusually attractive externally, with only the slightest of wear at the extremities. The pale yellow endpapers appear to be original (with no evidence of anything underneath the paste-downs), but in our opinion they are too clean, too intact, and perhaps a slightly variant hue of yellow -- so we believe they are later, in other words that the volume was deftly re-cased, but without any external evidence. The "Phiz" plates (and the text) are quite clean and free of foxing -- though there is a marginal corner repair to the frontispiece.
In all, this is clearly a better-looking copy than most. All of the thick octavo-format Dickens novels (the six others being PICKWICK PAPERS, NICHOLAS NICKLEBY, DOMBEY AND SON, DAVID COPPERFIELD, BLEAK HOUSE and LITTLE DORRIT) are difficult to obtain in presentable original condition, as the bulk of text and plates was too heavy for the simple cloth bindings and delicate endpapers; however, in our experience, MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT (incidentally the only one of the seven to be bound in blue rather than olive-green cloth) is one of the toughest. Housed in a handsome morocco-backed cloth clamshell case. Smith I pp 63-67. Item #15323