Lot 3002: Charles Dickens IS SHE A WIFE? OR SOMETHING SINGULAR 1877 First US Edition Antique Drama Comic Burletta Woodcuts Decorative Binding Victorian Literature

Lot 3002: Charles Dickens IS SHE A WIFE? OR SOMETHING SINGULAR 1877 First US Edition Antique Drama Comic Burletta Woodcuts Decorative Binding Victorian Literature

Est: $750 - $1,000
Sold: $475

National Book Auctions

May 31, 2015 12:00 PM GMT
Freeville, NY, US

More About This Item


Item Overview

Description:
Title: Is She a Wife? Or, Something Singular. A Comic Burletta in One Act
Author: Charles Dickens - Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic novels and characters.

Many of his writings were originally published serially, in monthly installments or parts, a format of publication which Dickens himself helped popularize at that time. Unlike other authors who completed entire novels before serialization, Dickens often created the episodes as they were being serialized. The practice lent his stories a particular rhythm, punctuated by cliffhangers to keep the public looking forward to the next installment. The continuing popularity of his novels and short stories is such that they have never gone out of print.

Dickens' work has been highly praised for its realism, comedy, mastery of prose, unique personalities and concern for social reform by writers such as Leo Tolstoy, George Gissing and G.K. Chesterton; though others, such as Henry James and Virginia Woolf, have criticised it for sentimentality and implausibility.
Publisher: James R. Osgood and Company
City: Boston
Year: 1877
Printing Information: First US Edition
Binding Style: Hardcover
Pagination: 80 pages
Width: 3.5" Height: 5"
Book Details: "Charles Dickens and Catherine Hogarth had been married on the 2nd of April, 1836, and had spent a one-week honeymoon at the cottage of a Mrs. Nash, in Chalk, near Gravesend. Dickens was still working as a Parliamentary reporter, and he could only take a short time away from work, while the Houses were in Easter recess.

Ten months later, the couple was to return to the same cottage, this time for an entire month (Feb 1837). Things had changed. Two days before the marriage, the first number of Pickwick Papers had appeared, and in the time intervening, Dickens had quit his day job as a reporter, and had become one of the most popular writers in London. He was so busy, in fact, that when he went on this second honeymoon, he had to take some work along him, finish it off the first night (Sat 4 Feb), and send it back to London by priority mail.

What was this work? The actor J.P. Harley had wanted another play from Dickens, to follow the success of The Strange Gentleman. Dickens wrote Harley: “I have by me a little piece in one act called ‘Cross Purposes’, which I wrote long before I was Boz. It would admit of the introduction of any Music; and if you think there is anything in it, it is at your service.” (Pilgrim 1:226). Dickens had first used the name “Boz” for part two of “The Boarding-House” (Aug 1834), so, if he was being literal, the play was over two years old.

In Pickwick Papers, and in Nicholas Nickleby, several not-too-relevant short stories are dropped into the novels, and it’s sometimes thought that these were older pieces pulled in to help with deadline problems. The case of “Cross Purposes”, presented below as Is She His Wife?, is the only time we know for certain that Dickens pulled such old material “out of the trunk”, and used work from the days before his success, to help meet the sudden demand for his writing. Such a practice would help to explain Dickens’s phenomenal burst of productivity and activity at this time.

The storyline of Is She His Wife? involves a couple, married six months, with the husband restless, snappish, and bored from staying in the country, and both of the pair unhappy. Given the circumstances under which the play was revised, the storyline must, inevitably, raise eyebrows. But the piece is not autobiographical. The bulk of it had been writt

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Auction Details

Books, Art and Ephemera - Genealogy, Ephemera, Kane, etc.

By National Book Auctions

May 31, 2015, 12:00 PM GMT

Freeville, NY, US

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