Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2012 Issue

The First Occasional List from John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller


Charles Owen's serpents.

Item 19 is a collection of letters written by Charles Dickens: The Letters. Edited by His Sister-in-law and his Eldest Daughter. It is a two-volume first edition (1880) along with the later published third volume (1882). Dickens died in 1870 leaving his papers to his sister-in-law, Georgina Hogarth. Georgina, sister of Dickens' wife Catherine, had come to the Dickens household in 1842 at the age of 15 to help care for the home and children. Interestingly, when the Dickens' marriage broke down in 1858, she took Charles' side and remained in the household with him and most of the children until the author died in 1870. While not romantically involved (Dickens was having an affair with another), he deeply appreciated Georgina's contributions to the home, which he considered far greater than those of his wife. $750.

Item 32 is a book about serpents, a mixture of reality, myth, theology and history: An Essay towards a Natural History of Serpents, by Charles Owen, published in 1742. Owen was a minister, and his book was intended to show how perfectly serpents fell into the Divine Plan of Creation. He didn't do a lot of original research. He primarily drew on other sources for his text and illustrations, using these to fit the beasts, real and imagined, into God's plan. $1,500.

John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller may be reached at 415-986-5826.

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