THACKERAY, WILLIAM MAKEPEACE. 1811-1863.
Vanity Fair, A Novel Without a Hero. London: Bradbury and Evans, January 1847-July 1848.
20 parts in 19. 8vo (225 x 140 mm). 40 etched plates including additional title-page, text illustrations and pictorial initials after drawings by the author. Original yellow pictorial wrappers. Custom chemise and full morocco pull-off case. Occasional foxing to plates, part 17 with offsetting to plates, mild dust-soiling, light wear to backstrips including some loss to part 17 and repair to part 3 backstrips, a few other minor repairs, overall in fine condition.
Provenance: Marjorie Wiggin Prescott (her sale, Christie's New York, February 6, 1981, lot 312)
Exhibited: Grolier Club, 'Essential Parts,' 1996, p 23.
FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL MONTHLY PARTS, COMPLETE WITH ALL ADVERTISEMENTS, FIRST ISSUE. Ads correspond to Van Duzer but in part 16 the back ads are on green paper rather than white. The ad for The Great Hoggarty Diamond is present facing the title-page in last part. The headline on p 1 is in rustic type, the reading Mr. Pitt on p 453, and the suppressed woodcut of Lord Steyne is on p 336. This is Thackeray's masterpiece. In her introduction to the Centenary Edition Thackeray's daughter, Lady Ritchie, wrote, "I can remember my father saying, 'Vanity Fair is undoubtedly the best of my books.' I have always been told that it was 'Mrs. Perkins's Ball' which played the part of pilot or steam tug to the great line-of-battle ship, 'Vanity Fair,' and which brought it safely off the shoals." Van Duzer 230.