Our Mutual Friend(130 views)
Description: FIRST EDITION in book form of one of Dickens's greatest works. IN RARE PUBLISHER'S MOROCCO BINDING. "For Our Mutual Friend [Dickens] reverted to his traditional form of publication in twenty monthly numbers (May 1864December 1865) and at first felt 'quite dazed,' he told Wilkie Collins, by the return to 'the large canvas and the big brushes' (ibid., 10.346). The illustrator chosen for the work was the orphaned son of an old artist friend, young Marcus Stone, who worked in the sentimental-realist style of 1860s book illustration, quite different from the caricatural style of Cruikshank and Browne. The novel with its panoramic treatment of contemporary society, complex plotting, scathing social satire, and masterly emblematic art recalls both Bleak House and Little Dorrit. It differs from these predecessors in a number of important ways, however. Most notably, both of the love stories at the heart of the book (the earlier novels each have only one main love story) end on a very positive note, neither involving retreat from the city as in the case of Esther and Alan Woodcourt in Bleak House, nor yielding themselves up to it as in the case of Little Dorrit and Arthur Clennam in Dorrit. Our Mutual Friend had a mixed reception (the young Henry James's harshly dismissive review in The Nation is notorious), but its stock has risen dramatically in recent years, and it is now generally regarded as one of his very greatest works" (DNB). First edition. Complete with 40 illustrations (20 plates per volume) engraved by Dalziel Brothers and W.T. Green. London: Chapman and Hall, 1865. Octavo, publisher's deluxe morocco, gilt-ruled and blind-stamped boards, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Two volumes. Some scuffing to binding extremities. Text and plates exceptionally clean. An exquisite set, very rare in publisher's morocco.
Artist or Maker: Dickens, Charles