"Frontispiece and title-page", the first full-page illustration for the thirteenth volume by Sol Eytinge, Jr. 10 cm high by 7.5 cm wide. The Diamond Edition of Dickens's Christmas Books and Sketches by Boz, Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-day People (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867; rpt., James R. Osgood, 1875). Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Commentary

After the heart-warming, sentimental seasonal tales which Dickens wrote between 1843 and 1848, this volume of the Diamond Edition, commemorating Dickens's Second American Reading Tour, features seven scenes from Dickens's earliest work, "Our Parish," the twenty-five chapters from "Scenes," and twelve chapters from "Characters," the text established by Chapman and Hall in 1839.

Dickens would have been feeling favourably disposed towards Ticknor & Fields at this time [the beginning of 1867], quite apart from his personal friendship with James Fields. In early March he had received a remittance of £200 from the firm in respect of the fourteen-volume edition of his works that they had just published under the title of 'The Diamond Edition', with illustrations by Sol Eytinge, who had long worked on Harper's Weekly and whose work greatly pleased Dickens. On 16 April he wrote to Ticknor & Fields authorising them state publicly that he had never profited from the reprinting of his works in America by any other publishers than themselves, except for Harper's payments to him for advance proof-sheets of the serial parts of his last three novels [A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend]. — Michael Slater, "Last Christmas Numbers: 1865-1867," p. 557.

The Diamond Edition, containing all of Dickens's major writings to date, was clearly intended to promote Dickens's long-awaited American reading tour which Fields in 1866 had ardently been persuading Dickens to undertake, despite the tremendous stresses that such a far-flung tour would entail for the author. Arguably, this was the first uniform edition containing all of Dickens's principal works, including everything from his earliest Sketches to his most recent journalism, collected as The Uncommercial Traveller, and missing only certain collaborative frame-tales for Christmas and The Mystery of Edwin Drood in a highly compact form suitable for reading on American railway and steamboat journeys.

In its "quality" periodical, The Atlantic Monthly, and in its special commemorative edition of the reading text of "Dr. Marigold" and "The Trial" from "Pickwick" (1868, but registered for copyright in 1867), Ticknor (later, Osgood) and Fields of Boston advertised its forthcoming 14-volume Diamond Edition of Dickens's works, which was to be published at the rate of four volumes per month and at the cost of $1.50 each (for green Morocco cloth; $3.00, half-calf) with 16 full-page illustrations by Sol Eytinge, Jr., in each volume. Since the order of publication reflected the popularity of Dickens's recent novels, the volume containing the twenty-year old Christmas Books and the thirty-year-old Sketches by Boz was the thirteenth.

References

Bentley, Nicolas, Michael Slater, and Nina Burgis. The Dickens Index. Oxford and New York: Oxford U. P., 1988.

Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Checkmark and Facts On File, 1998.

Dickens, Charles. Christmas Books and Sketches by Boz Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-day People. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867. Rpt., Boston: James R. Osgood, 1875.

Dickens, Charles. Christmas Books. Illustrated by Fred Barnard. The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1878.

Dickens, Charles. The Christmas Books. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book, 1910.

Dickens, Charles. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by E. A. Abbey. The Household Edition. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1876.

Dickens, Charles. The Haunted Man and The Ghost's Bargain (1848). Illustrated by John Leech, John Tenniel, Frank Stone, and Clarkson Stanfield. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848.

Dickens, Charles. Sketches by Boz, Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-day People. Illustrated by George Cruikshank. London: Chapman and Hall, 1839; rpt., 1890. Pp. 104-111.

Dickens, Charles. Sketches by Boz, Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-day People. Illustrated by Fred Barnard. The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1876.

Dickens, Charles. Sketches by Boz, Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-day People. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book Company, 1910. Vol. 1.

Dickens, Charles, and Fred Barnard. The Dickens Souvenir Book. London: Chapman & Hall, 1912.

Hammerton, J. A. The Dickens Picture-Book. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. Vol. 17. London: Educational Book Co., 1910.

Hawksley, Lucinda Dickens. Chapter 3, "Sketches by Boz." Dickens Bicentenary 1812-2012: Charles Dickens. San Rafael, California: Insight, 2011. Pp. 12-15.

Kitton, Frederic G. Dickens and His Illustrators. 1899. Rpt. Honolulu: U. Press of the Pacific, 2004.

Slater, Michael. Charles Dickens: A Life Defined by Writing. New Haven and London: Yale U. P., 2009.

Winter, William. "Charles Dickens" and "Sol Eytinge." Old Friends: Being Literary Recollections of Other Days. New York: Moffat, Yard, & Co., 1909. Pp. 181-207, 317-319.


Last modified 8 May 2017