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46 Great Russell Street
Bloomsbury
London
WC1B 3PA
Contact Brian Lake
Janet Nassau, Edward Nassau Lake
Telephone 020 7631 4220
Specialists The 19th Century Booksellers: 17th to 19th Century English Literature, London, Language & Education, Dickens, Novels, Poetry, Plays & Theatre, Social & Economic History, The Romantics, Chapbooks, Street Literature, Humanities, Original Bindings, Language
Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers
Stand B01

DICKENS, Charles.

HOLOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT. [Martin Chuzzlewit.] Mrs Gamp with the Strolling Players., [ 1847 ]

Half title, frontispiece portrait & plates by F.W. Pailthorpe. Limited to 85 copies. Full red morocco by Rivière & Son, spine gilt; hinges rubbed & sl. weak. Bookplate of Lowell M. Palmer. In fold-over box.

Note
Bound in after the pamphlet is the working draft with extensive autograph revisions and deletions, 139 lines on 4pp, 4to. It was written by Dickens in 1847 in order to raise money for Leigh Hunt's Benefit. The humorous series of caricatures is told in the first person by Mrs Gamp, the character from Martin Chuzzlewit.
It gives an account of an amateur theatrical expedition to Manchester and Liverpool - based on that undertaken by Dickens's company in July & August. Those caricatured include Dickens himself, Leigh Hunt and John Poole, Dudley Costello, George Cruikshank, Augustus Egg, John Leech, Frank Stone, John Forster, Douglas Jerrold and Mark Lemon.
Dickens's intention was to publish the sketch with illustrations by Cruikshank, Egg, Leech, Stone and Daniel Maclise to raise further funds for Hunt, but the project did not materialise.
An uncorrected proof was printed and sent to Frank Stone and is now in Dickens House.
The Clarendon Edition of Martin Chuzzlewit describes this manuscript as lost, having been sold at auction in June 1899 as part of the library of William Wright, via the bookseller Robson, to Lowell Palmer.
The manuscript, according to Forster, was to have been titled Mrs Gamp's 'New Piljians Projiss', an Account of a Late Expedition into the North, for an Amateur Theatrical Benefit, written by Mrs Gamp (who was an eye-witness). But, see following item for Dickens's ambivalence about the title.
Dickens outlined the story to Forster in a letter on 4th August, 1847. Proofs were sent to members of the cast to add to Dickens's beginning. When the hoped-for illustrations failed to appear, Dickens abandoned the project and gave the manuscript to Forster.
The version of this skit included in Forster's Life was from a proof printing not the manuscript, whereas the 1899 printing includes 'authentic readings and must be derived from manuscript'. The Clarendon Edition printing uses the proof but incorporates the 'clearly authentic readings' from 1899. A full and accurate transcription of the manuscript remains to be completed. It can be said with certainty that the reference to the white wig 'that Mr Macready went mad in' was indeed introduced by Forster.