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February 17, 2012

Charles Dickens Bicentennial

Charles Dickens was born 200 years ago this month and literary institutions throughout the world are celebrating by sharing their holdings of his works. The Kelvin Smith Library Special Collections holds a representational sample of his publications and autographed letters donated over the years in support of the scholarly interests of our campus community.

We share here Bleak House by Charles Dickens, with illustrations by H.K. Browne. Published in London by Bradbury and Evans in 1853. It was issued in illustrated blue paper covers.


Bleak House. by Charles Dickens showing original blue paper covers.

The first edition of the novel appeared in 20 numbers issued monthly, from March, 1852, to September, 1853. Hablot Knight Browne (1815-1882) was one of the most prominent illustrators of the Victorian era. His work also commonly appears under his well known pseudonym ‘Phiz.’ Bleak House draws attention to the shortcomings of England’s Court of Chancery in which legal haggling could result in a case taking decades to be resolved. Our first edition set in serial format was the gift of Robert H. Jackson in 1984.


"A model of parental deportment" from No. 8, October 1852. Most numbers were illustrated with two plates.

If you are visiting campus be sure to stop in and view additional Dickens publications and letters on display in the Hatch reading room through mid-March.

Please do not hesitate to contact Special Collections for more information.

Posted by exo2 at February 17, 2012 08:58 PM

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