Dombey and Son
London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848.
London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848. First edition. Very early issue, with all but 3 of Smith's 'internal flaws.' Finely bound by Bayntun in full red morocco with a portrait of Dickens on the front cover and his signatures on the rear in gilt. Gilt titles and decorative spine compartments on the spine, all edges gilt. Marbled end papers. Complete, with the half title and vignette title, the eight-line errata, and 40 engraved plates (including the first example of a "dark plate" facing page 547). A handsome copy in a lovely binding.
Dombey and Son tackles a number of key themes that appear throughout Dickens' authorial career -- concerns about family duty, class position, child welfare, and the dangers of arranged marriages in particular. As the titular Dombey builds his shipping company, he fantasizes that his son will someday take over the business and continue his legacy. But England is changing rapidly due to the effects of industrialization, and its effects ripple throughout Victorian culture. One symbol of industrialization's promise (and its perils) is the railroad. In chapter six, Dickens calls the railroad's impact a "great earthquake." Dombey and Son grapples with the effects of industrialization, and the railroad is one of the novel's symbols for this momentous era.
Smith 8. Fine (Item #5157)