NONESUCH PRESS. DICKENS, Charles. ~ The Nonesuch Dickens.
IIllustrated with wood and steel engravings printed from the original blocks or plates; the title-page device by Lynton Lamb. One of 877 sets. 23 text volumes and the fold-over box in deep purple cloth containing the original engraved steel-plate. Large 8vo., a good set in original variously coloured buckram (either apple-green, black, blue, brown, dark green, fawn, maroon, orange, red or yellow), black leather lettering-labels to spines, top edges gilt on the rough, others uncut. A little fading to some of the spines and two very small holes and a small stain on the spine of Our Mutual Friend but generally in good condition.
The original engraved steel-plate by “Phiz” is a good one being from Little Dorrit: “Visitors at the Works” and comes with the original letter of authentication signed by Arthur Waugh, the Deputy Chairman of Chapman and Hall, and a print from the plate.
The text illustrations are printed from the original steel plates or wood-blocks (except in a few cases where the original wood-blocks had split and consequently those illustrations were reproduced from electro-typed facsimiles or from photographic reproductions).
The text used for this edition was that of “The Charles Dickens Edition” of 1867-1875, printed by R. & R. Clark using a new type-face specially designed by Francis Meynell.
The Nonesuch edition of Dickens remains one of the greatest of all collected editions in textual accuracy, design and quality of manufacture. The decison to disperse the original plates for the entire set of novels was bitterly resented, even by people closely connected with the Press. David Garnett attacked it as “an act of vandalism” in “The New Statesman and Nation” and Alice Meynell's disapproval was voiced so vehemently that she ended up having to resign as secretary. It is extraordinary that such a publishing venture should have been launched in the middle of a depression with a massive level of advertising. By June 1938, of the 877 sets 314 had been sold in the US and 237 in the UK.