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. 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 red morocco pull-off case. Spines renewed and many wrappers supplied, part 4 front wrapper re-margined, plates with some toning and occasional offsetting, minor dust-soiling, varying ownership inscriptions.
FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL MONTHLY PARTS OF THACKERAY'S MASTERPIECE. Ads mostly lacking including supplied wrappers with back covers blank on parts 2 and 4-18 and blank inside front covers on parts 9-18. Part 1 back ads are on pink rather than green, varying back wrapper of part 3. The headline on p 1 is in rustic type, the reading "Mr. Pitt" for "Sir Pitt" on p 453, and the suppressed woodcut of Lord Steyne is on p 336.
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.