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Nineteenth-Century Fiction Collection

3,000 items (dispersed).

Over 600 authors are represented, of whom just under one half are pre-Victorian. There is a substantial collection of three-decker novels, many in fine examples of publishers’ bindings.

The Seydi Collection, acquired in 1975 from the London bookseller Sevin Seydi, has added a further 350 items, representing 130 authors, the majority dating from the first half of the century. Many derive from subscription libraries.

Attention should be drawn to the first edition of William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair (1848), in the original cloth with the author’s portrait of Lord Steyne on p. 336, which was later suppressed.

For Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers (1836–7), Bleak House (1853) and Edwin Drood (1870) are available in their original part wrappers. Of Oliver Twist (1837) there is a first issue of the first edition with the final Cruikshank illustration which Dickens later rejected.

The principal women writers are well represented in first edition:

  • Jane Austen with Emma (1816), and Northanger Abbey and Persuasion (published together posthumously in 1818)
  • Charlotte Brontë with Jane Eyre (1847), Shirley (1849), and Villette (1853)
  • George Eliot with Silas Marner (1861) and Agatha (1869), and a first edition in book form of Romola (1863)

Among the lesser-known authors are Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Lady Georgiana Fullerton, Mrs Catherine Gore, James Grant and Emily Lawless.

See also the George Gissing Collection, the Elizabeth Gaskell Printed Collection, the John Ruskin Book Collection and the Walt Whitman Book Collection.

Finding aids

Recorded in general printed-book catalogue.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

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