London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1857. Second Edition. Half leather with marbled boards. A handsome set of the second edition of Gaskell’s landmark biography defending Charlotte Brontë in near-contemporary half leather in matching marbled boards.
The book was a breakthrough early biography of the woman behind the Currer Bell moniker but was likewise panned for inaccuracies and, at times, getting too close to hagiography. The first edition of the book sold out quickly, and the second edition was only available for sale for a month. Following several lawsuits filed against Gaskell, the publishers pulled the book from shelves and pressured Gaskell to eliminate the challenged material. See Koczela, Andrea, How Elizabeth Gaskell Saved Charlotte Brontë’s Reputation (ILAB 2014). Third and later editions lack the allegedly offending materials.
Second edition, two volumes. Small 8vo. Vol I: viii, 352pp; Vol II: viii, 327pp, . Half titles present but without catalogue (which Smith indicates may not have been present in every copy). Smith 109. Very good with some rubbing to boards and minor foxing to some pages, more noticeable on pages facing plates. Item #4