Dombey and Son (Extra-illustrated)
London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848.
London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848. First edition. A lovely, Near Fine copy of the book in the publisher's full green morocco. Spine titles stamped in gilt, all edges gilt, pale yellow end-papers. Complete with half-title, 2-line errata leaf (bound at the end) and all 40 original plates. Extra-illustrated with the additional 12 plates by H. K. Browne (Phiz) produced by Chapman and Hall in 1848 (produced in two parts, a first set of 8 additional plates and a second set of 4 additional plates, all depicting characters or scenes from the novel). Some foxing to the plates, as usual. With the first appearance of a "dark" plate in a Dickens' work, used more extensively in later novels like Bleak House and Little Dorrit.
The last copy at auction in the publisher's full morocco binding made 5,625 pounds at Sothebys in 2019 (part of the Larry Drizen collection) and did not include the rare extra suite of twelve Phiz plates produced by Chapman and Hall.
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. Near Fine (Item #5741)