(London: Bradbury and Evans, 1853). 220 x 140 mm. (8 5/8 x 5 3/8"). xvi, 624 pp., bound without the half title. FIRST EDITION in book form, bound up from the parts (stab holes visible).
VERY ATTRACTIVE HONEY-COLORED STRAIGHT-GRAIN MOROCCO BY BAYNTUN (signed on verso of front free endpaper), covers with French fillet border, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments featuring central floral ornament and many surrounding foliate and circular tools, two maroon and one olive-colored lettering pieces, turn-ins with attractive gilt foliate border, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Frontispiece, added engraved title, and 38 plates, all by Hablot Knight Browne. Owner's name largely effaced from title. Hatton & Cleaver, pp. 275-304; Eckel, pp. 79-81. Joints with just a tiny bit of rubbing, a few trivial abrasions to spine, the majority of plates with slight darkening around the edges, other minor imperfections, otherwise AN ESPECIALLY PLEASING COPY, quite clean and showing virtually no signs of use internally, and the attractive binding in fine, bright condition.
Described by Day as "one of the most incredible tours de force in literature," the famous saga of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce combines a satire of the labyrinthine legal system with a tightly plotted murder mystery. It marks the beginning of biting social commentary in Dickens' fiction, and takes a more pessimistic view of the world; good will not necessarily triumph over evil. Originally issued in parts in 1852-53, "Bleak House" also has the distinction of being the second-oldest work to be included in the Haycraft Queen Cornerstones of Mystery Fiction list, preceded only by Poe's 1845 "Tales." The binding here is the work of another Victorian institution, the Bayntun bindery of Bath, which has been producing outstanding work since 1894. (ST16866d)
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PJP Catalog: 78.204