London: Chapman and Hall, 1872 - 1876. Thirty-three volumes in total, uniformly bound by Bumpus in full tan calf with raised bands and gilt details on the spines, all edges gilt, illustrated throughout. Volumes with some wear to the spine ends, but all boards firmly attached and no cracking to the joints or hinges. Internally in excellent condition. A very handsome set of Dickens' major works. "The Library Edition came about largely because of the suggestion of Forster that while Dickens's works were available in volumes in the Cheap Edition and in reprints of the serial parts, there was no high-quality edition that would appeal to the wealthy... With a dedication to Forster, the Library Edition appeared in 22 volumes in 1858-9 at 7s 6d per volume... Recognizing the continuing potential for sales of Dickens's works, Chapman and Hall in 1873 published a prospectus for the Second Illustrated Library Edition, containing, they contended, all the works the novelist wished to preserve. Calling it the first well-printed issue, with specially cast type and better paper than that used in previous editions, this set was published in 30 volumes between 1873 and 1876 and sold at £15 for the set, a high price for the time" (Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens, pp. 205-206).
Charles Dickens is considered one of the greatest novelists of the English language (critic Harold Bloom considers him one of the greatest writers in the history of the Western World). He was easily the most widely read and popular writer of his own era and remains so today – for Dickens has never been out of print and his works have been adapted into over 200 films or television series as well as countless stage dramas. He is an iconic figure in England as well, appearing on the 10 pound note and being voted one of the “100 Greatest Britons” of all time in a 2002 BBC poll.
Dickens style is noted for its incredible skill with caricature and satire – indeed, one usually need only mutter the name of a character of his to conjure up a vision of that character’s entire self. A master storyteller, his work often depicted the less savory and neglected side of England as well. The number of writers who respect or have been influenced by him is countless, and include such luminaries as Tolstoy, Orwell, and Conrad. (Item #1647)