London: Bradbury & Evans, 1853. First edition. Complete with all 40 plates which include the frontispiece, title-page and the 10 "dark plates." Has all three typographical errors associated with the first edition, first issue: P.19, line 6: "elgble"; P.209, line 23: "chair" instead of "hair"; and P.275, line 22: "counsinship" instead of "cousinship." Bound in full polished calf, rebacked with the original spine laid down (and inner hinges reinforced). Marbled end papers and marbling to the text block. Extremely clean internally, with much less foxing than is typically seen. A handsome copy overall.
One of Dickens finest novels, the action in Bleak House revolves around a never-ending set of related Chancery Court cases to resolve the inheritance of a considerable estate. Dickens turns his pen to a biting condemnation of the system and the need for reform (which shouldn't surprise the Dickens scholar). A complex novel and filled with subplots, it engages and titillates the reader from start to finish. Noted by some for Inspector Bucket's prominent role in investigating a murder, which earned it a spot on the Haycraft-Queen cornerstone list of detective fiction, the novel is also memorable for its complex representation of femininity. "There's more to Esther than simple good nature. As the book progresses she reveals a dark, angry wit. It is a wit that can still strike a chord today" (The Guardian). An important social commentary, and Dickens at his best. Near Fine (Item #5156)