Hard Cover. London: Chapman & Hall, 1839. First Edition. Fine.
First edition. Illustrations by Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz"). Finely bound in 19th century full polished green calf, spine lettered and decorated in gilt, gilt turn-ins, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. An excellent copy, extremities lightly rubbed, with the usual foxing and some staining to the plates, text otherwise very clean and bright. A very attractive copy. Nicholas Nickleby is Dickens's third novel, which he began writing while Oliver Twist was still in progress. Characteristic of Dickens's work, Nicholas Nickleby is a whirlwind of social satire with a complex network of characters and plotlines. The book highlights the controversy that surrounded Yorkshire boarding schools in the 1830s as news stories brought to light the abuse and neglect that was common among these institutions, known for accepting unwanted children from parents who paid high prices to send them anywhere they could. Dickens's villain, Wackford Squeers, was based on Walter Shaw, the real-life headmaster of Bowes Academy, one of the schools reported for allowing rampant abuse of its pupils. The book has since been adapted for theater, television, and film and remains one of Dickens's most well-known works. This first edition in book form was bound from the publisher's parts with the stab holes from the original wrappers present and all the points called for by Smith, meaning that it is one of the earlier issues of the first edition. Furthermore, this copy was bound from the earliest states of the publisher's parts, for, as Hatton and Cleaver note, "There are two distinguishing features only, which point out early printings from later issues:" the substitution of "visiter" for "sister" on page 123 and "latter" instead of "letter" on page 160; both of these errors were corrected while Nicholas Nickleby was issued in parts, causing Smith to cite these points as "in some copies." This copy has both "visiter" and "latter," deeming it a scarce first edition bound from the first state of the publisher's parts.