Edited by "Boz." With Illustrations by George Cruikshank. In Two Volumes. London: Richard Bentley, 1838. 36 pp undated Vol II ads. Original pink cloth embossed with flowers, with gilt-decorated spines.
First Edition of this early Dickens piece, worked on 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.
This copy is in the primary binding of pink cloth embossed with a floral design, with a clown in gilt holding the title on each spine. It also has the last plate in Vol II in the first state (without the "grotesque" border that was added around Cruikshank's plate -- the border was removed for the subsequent 1846 one-volume edition). Condition is very good: as always the pink spines are a little faded, and there is very slight shelfwear at the binding extremities (there is also a discreet signature at the top of each title page); the original pale yellow endpapers are present and uncracked, and foxing of the plates is generally limited to the two frontispieces. In all, rather nice condition for these very fragile volumes. Gimbel B64; Carr B599; Eckel pp 140-142; Johnson p. 242. Item #7970