Cruikshank, George. Hard Cover. London: Chapman and Hall, 1839. Very Good.
New edition. Illustrated with 40 engraved plates by George Cruikshank. Finely bound in contemporary three-quarter dark green calf, marbled boards and page edges, spine titled and elaborately stamped in gilt. Very good, with wear and rubbing to spine ends, edges, and boards, frontispiece with repaired tear, some foxing to frontis and plates. Overall, a very attractive, bright and very clean copy. This collection of fiction, first published as a series of short pieces in The Monthly Magazine and other periodicals, was re-issued in book form in 1836 and stands as Dickens's first foray into authorship. The pieces were penned under Dickens's pseudonym, "Boz", and offer insight into his observations of the streets of Victorian London and its inhabitants. The humorous and unforgiving social critique includes chapters such as "Thoughts about People," a grim take on the life of a working man in London as one that "cannot be said to be forgotten when he dies, for no one remembered him when he was alive," and "The Broker's Man," a long lament by a character called Mr. Bung on the trials he faces working for a broker. The original two-volume set and its later-published third volume were illustrated by notable political cartoonist and illustrator of the time, George Cruikshank, who worked closely with Dickens to portray each character and scene exactly as he envisioned them. Sketches marked the beginning of many of Dickens's professional relationships, which ultimately led to his rise to the prominence he holds today.