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Nineteenth-Century Fiction

Date range: 19th century

Medium: Printed

Number of items: 3000 items (dispersed)

Over six hundred 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, added 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 (1811-1863) novel Vanity Fair (London: Bradbury & Evans, 1848), in the original cloth with the author’s portrait of Lord Steyne on p. 336, which was later suppressed.

The works of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) are represented in grangerized sets of his Novels and Tales of the Author of Waverley (Edinburgh: Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson and Co., 1822-33), The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet (Edinburgh: Cadell & Co; London: Simpkin and Marshall, 1830) and The Miscellaneous Prose Works of Sir Walter Scott, Bart (Edinburgh: Cadell and Co.; London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1827).

For Charles Dickens (1812-1870), The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (London: Chapman & Hall, 1836-37), Bleak House (London: Bradbury & Evans, 1852-53) and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (London: Chapman & Hall, 1870) are available in their original part wrappers. Of Oliver Twist (London: Richard Bentley, 1837) there is a first issue of the first edition with the final illustration by George Cruikshank (1792-1878) which Dickens later rejected. There is also a grangerized edition of John Forster's (1812-1876) The Life of Charles Dickens, 3 vols (London: Chapman and Hall, 1872-74) rebound in 13 vols.

The principal women writers are well represented in first edition:

  • Jane Austen (1775-1817) with Emma (London: John Murray, 1816), and Northanger Abbey: and Persuasion (London: John Murray, 1818) which were published together posthumously
  • Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) with Jane Eyre (London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1847), Shirley (London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1849), and Villette (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1853)
  • George Eliot (1819-1880) with Silas Marner (Edinburgh: W. Blackwood and Sons, 1861) and Agatha (London : Trübner & Co., 1869), and a first edition in book form of Romola (London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1863)

Among the lesser-known authors are Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), Lady Georgiana Fullerton (1812-1885), Mrs Catherine Gore (1798-1861), James Grant (1822-1887) and Emily Lawless (1845-1913).

19th-century poetry is also well represented, with significant collections relating to William Wordsworth (1770-1850), Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883) and Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892).

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Further information:

Recorded in Library Search.


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