"IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."
FIRST BOOK EDITION, FIRST STATE, IN RARE ORIGINAL CLOTH of Dickens’s historical masterpiece.
“A Tale of Two Cities (serialized from 30 April to 26 November 1859)…was inspired by the story of the self-sacrificing lover Richard Wardour (Dickens's role) in The Frozen Deep. In this novel, the second half of which takes place during the French Revolution, Dickens set himself the task, he told Forster, ‘of making a picturesque story, rising in every chapter with characters true to nature, but whom the story itself should express, more than they should express themselves, by dialogue’, glossed by Forster as meaning that Dickens would be relying ‘less upon character than upon incident’ (Forster, 730, 731). In its tightly organized and highly romantic melodrama and the near-absence of typical ‘Dickensian’ humour and humorous characters, A Tale of Two Cities certainly stands apart from all his other novels, although—as in his earlier historical novel—one of the great set pieces of the book is the anarchic destruction of a prison, an event to which Dickens's imagination responded with powerful ambiguity” (Dictionary of National Biography).
Complete with sixteen plates (including frontispiece and vignette title) by Phiz, and 32-page publisher’s catalog. First state: with p.213 misnumbered 113, “affetcionately” on p.134 (line 12), et al.
London: Chapman and Hall, 1859. Octavo, original publisher’s red cloth (first binding); early custom box. With royal bookplate of the Earl of Normanton on front pastedown and neat early signature (dated 1874) on front free endpaper. First gathering a little loose (as often), toning to spine and bottom edge of front board. Some strengthening to spine. Text and plates extremely clean. A bright, fresh copy in the rare original red cloth.
Price: $15,000 .