[Five Christmas Books:] A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being A Ghost Story of Christmas; The Cricket on the Hearth. A Fairy Tale of Home; The Battle of Life. A Love Story; The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang An Old Year Out and A New Year In; The Haunted Man and the Ghosts Bargain. A Fancy for Christmas-Time.
London: Chapman & Hall, MDCCCXLIII (1843); London: Bradbury & Evans, 1846; London: Bradbury & Evans, MDCCCXLVI (1846); London: Chapman & Hall, MDCCCXLV (1845); London: Bradbury & Evans, 1848. 5 vols., 8vo., Please see below for the discussion of states and pagination. All volumes in original publishers cloth, each book in very good condition, with bright gilt on covers and backstrips. A Christmas Carol in its original light-brown and vertically ribbed cloth, with all edges gilt, and green endpapers, shows some slight rubbing at foot and crown of backstrip, with minor foxing near plates, and contemporary owners signature to first free endpaper, but otherwise bright; very good. The remainder of the Christmas Books are uniformly bound in vertically ribbed red cloth, gilt stamping and lettering on covers and backstrips; all edges gilt. The Chimes with inconsequential rubbing and a touch of wear at corners and slight occasional foxing near outer plate margins; very good. The Cricket is in marvelous condition with only a little discoloration at crown of backstrip and a stain to the lower board. The Battle of Life is largely free from mentionable defect except some slight shelf wear and a contemporary ink owners signature to the first free endpaper. The Haunted Man reveals some shelfwear to the cloth with a small split at the tail of the lower joint and the occasional freckle of foxing, otherwise very good. All are housed in a blue morocco pull-off case with gilt titling, and each (except A Christmas Carol) has a blue cloth jacket. First editions of all five of Dickenss Christmas books. With engravings by D. Maclise, R. Doyle, C. Stanfield, J. Leech, J. Tenniel, and F. Stone, Thompson, G. Dalziel, E. Dalziel, T. Williams, Swain, and Groves. A Christmas Carol is the high point and the crucial component in any set of Dickenss Christmas Books. Dickens kept its production on a short leash and anecdotes abound about his pleasure or displeasure with the differently colored endpapers, the color of the cloth for the binding, the typography and so forth. Oddly enough, despite Dickens personal attention to this edition, it is not a particularly well-made title. Coupled with the legions of fans who often read their copies to death, it comes as no surprise that original and well-preserved copies of this book, in its correct state, seldom appear on the market. The Chimes, written in Genoa, Italy, was commercially more successful than A Christmas Carol and Dickens worked hard to make this second Christmas book a worthy successor. The Cricket... was grew from the idea to begin a weekly periodical which wouldve been called The Cricket, though was abandoned quickly for a more important venture and the founding of The Daily News. The Cricket was wildly successful, doubling in circulation of both its predecessors. Dickens wrote The Battle of Life during a period of recuperation needed after illness attributed to over-working, despite being seriously indisposed he managed to complete the work, while working on Dombey and Son, though it was not as successful as his other Christmas books thus far. The Haunted Man... was the last of the Christmas books, and despite requiring a final rally from the author to avoid disappointing the public, the book is considered the least interesting and lowest grossing of the Christmas books, the issue of 20,000 had not completely sold when the author died. All books are in their most desirable states, as follows:A Christmas Carol...: [i-viii], -166, [2, ads] pp. First edition, first issue. Green endpapers; Stave I on pp. 1; uncorrected text throughout; red-and-blue printed title page, with four color etchings and four woodcuts, full-page color etchings with tissue guards intact. The Chimes...: [i-viii], -175, [1, imprint] pp. First edition, first issue. The name of the publishers is a part of the the vignette title page as per the first issue. 11 woodcuts in text and steel engraved frontis and titlepage.The Cricket on the Hearth...: [i-viii], -174, [2, ads] pp. First edition, first issue. The advertisement leaf (pp. 175) is in the first state with the two lines above OLIVER TWIST in italics. This is especially notable as Walter E. Smith (Charles Dickens in the Original Cloth, 1983) writes that the above information is the best indication of early copies, and that I have found the second state of the advertisement in all but a few copies of the first edition that I reviewed (43). With steel engraved frontis and titlepage, and 12 woodcuts in text. The Battle of Life...: [i-viii], [1-3], 4-175, [3, imprint and ads]. First edition. The present issue does not contain A LOVE STORY in type below the title vignette and appears only in a scroll borne by a winged cupid. There is no type insertion to the engraved titlepage. Terminal ads announce the publication in parts of Dombey and Son, and the bound volume of Oliver Twist. In addition to the engraved frontis and titlepage there are 11 woodcuts in the text. The Haunted Man and the Ghosts Bargain...: [i-viii], -188 pp., with engraved frontis and title page, and 15 woodcuts in the text. Smith II 4, 5, 6, 8, 9. Eckell 116-134.
(Item Id: 108353)