Bonhams has great expectations for 'almost complete' Dickens collection
An almost complete collection of Charles Dickens's novels, published in parts, is among the highlights of Bonhams' collection of 18th and 19th century first edition and serialised literature on October 18.

The 290-lot New York sale is estimated to be worth $1.5m and will feature many leading novels as they were originally published: in serialised form.

Although producing a book in parts over several months began in England around 1700, the idea went out of fashion. It was not until the 1830s that Dickens popularised the method.

He planned his novels in 19 or 20 sections. This technique allowed him to write and publish a chapter a month, and explains why his works are such page turners.

Relatively few serialised versions remain - the Victorians were seemingly content to throw them out upon the eventual publication of the complete book - which is excellent news for investors looking for profit potential.

A monthly dose of Mrs Beeton did Victorians little harm

The sale also includes a rare complete collection of all Anthony Trollope's novels published in parts, 12 works by George Elliot including several in parts, and 25 publications by Thackeray.

Tom Lamb, of Bonhams' book, map and manuscript department, says the collection is "a rare case of adoration for the original form".

A serialised version of Mrs Beeton's Household Management is also up for grabs, evidence that the promise of hashed partridge and "Useful soup for benevolent purposes" guaranteed sales in Victorian Britain.


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