Charles Dickens's Our Mutual Friend

Clarendon Edition





First two-volume edition

Our Mutual Friend. 2 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, February and November 1865. 629 pp.

This edition, bound up from the edition in monthly parts, is textually identical to the edition in monthly parts. The front matter is, of course, placed in the front of each volume, and the illustrations are positioned near the relevant episodes in the text. The advertisements of the periodical edition are omitted.

Volume one includes a half-title, title page, dedication page, contents, and 'Illustrations to Volume I'. The very first illustration from the first monthly number, 'The Bird of Prey' (showing Gaffer and Lizzie Hexam in the boat on the Thames), was used as the frontispiece.

Volume two contains, in addition to the usual preliminary leaves, the 'Postscript in Lieu of Preface', and, as there is no vignette title, an extra (frontispiece) illustration by Marcus Stone, depicting Nicodemus Boffin retrieving the Dutch bottle from a dust heap, while Venus and Wegg look on from the shadows.

The two volumes (each priced at 11s.) were sometimes bound as a single volume.

The edition from which the images and text on this website are taken is the dedication copy, which is in the Charles Dickens Museum's Suzannet collection. It contains two letters from Dickens to the dedicatee, James Emerson Tennent.

The letters from Dickens to Tennent run as follows:

Friday, Aug. 26th, 1864

My Dear Tennent,
Believe me, I fully intended to come to you-did not doubt that I should come-and have greatly disappointed Mary and her aunt, as well as myself, by not coming. But I do not feel safe in going out for a visit. The mere knowledge that I had such a thing before me would put me out. It is not the length of time consumed, or the distance traversed, but it is the departure from a settled habit and a continuous sacrifice of pleasures that comes in question. This is an old story with me. I have never divided a book of my writing with anything else, but have always wrought at it to the exclusion of everything else; and it is now too late to change.
After receiving your kind note I resolved to make another trial. But the hot weather and a few other drawbacks did not mend the matter, for I have dropped astern this month instead of going ahead. So I have seen Forster, and shown him my chains, and am reduced to taking exercise in them, like Baron Trenck.
I am heartily pleased that you set so much store by the dedication. You may be sure that it does not make me the less anxious to take pains, and to work out well what I have in my mind.
Mary and Georgina unite with me in kindest regards to Lady Tennent and Miss Tennent, and wish me to report that while they are seriously disap¬pointed, they still feel there is no help for it. I can testify that they had great pleasure in the anticipation of the visit, and that their faces were very long and blank indeed when I began to hint my doubts. They fought against them valiantly as long as there was a chance, but they see my difficulty as well as anyone not myself can.
Believe me, my dear Tennent, ever faithfully yours [CHARLES DICKENS]

Gad's Hill Place I Tuesday Twenty Fourth January 1865

My Dear Tennent,
Trade requirements necessitate the publication at this time of the first 10 Nos of Our Mutual Friend, as the first volume of that story. That first volume necessarily includes the Dedication to you: otherwise some 30,000 and odd buyers would not have it in their copies. But as the book is not complete, I don't send it to you now. I don't want you to have it from me, until the Dedication is the culmination of a finished whole. Then please God the inscribing of it to you will mean much more, and will better express my love.
With this word of explanation to you, let me couple my thanks to Lady Tennent for a delightful letter she wrote me last November.
My Dear Tennent I Faithfully yours ever

Book 1

  • Book 1, chapter 1
  • Book 1, chapter 2
  • Book 1, chapter 3
  • Book 1, chapter 4
  • Book 1, chapter 5
  • Book 1, chapter 6
  • Book 1, chapter 7
  • Book 1, chapter 8
  • Book 1, chapter 9
  • Book 1, chapter 10
  • Book 1, chapter 11
  • Book 1, chapter 12
  • Book 1, chapter 13
  • Book 1, chapter 14
  • Book 1, chapter 15
  • Book 1, chapter 16
  • Book 1, chapter 17

Book 2

  • Book 2, chapter 1
  • Book 2, chapter 2
  • Book 2, chapter 3
  • Book 2, chapter 4
  • Book 4, chapter 5
  • Book 2, chapter 6
  • Book 2, chapter 7
  • Book 2, chapter 8
  • Book 2, chapter 9
  • Book 2, chapter 10
  • Book 2, chapter 11
  • Book 2, chapter 12
  • Book 2, chapter 13
  • Book 2, chapter 14
  • Book 2, chapter 15
  • Book 2, chapter 16

Book 3

  • Book 3, chapter 1
  • Book 3, chapter 2
  • Book 3, chapter 3
  • Book 3, chapter 4
  • Book 3, chapter 5
  • Book 3, chapter 6
  • Book 3, chapter 7
  • Book 3, chapter 8
  • Book 3, chapter 9
  • Book 3, chapter 10
  • Book 3, chapter 11
  • Book 3, chapter 12
  • Book 3, chapter 13
  • Book 3, chapter 14
  • Book 3, chapter 15
  • Book 3, chapter 16
  • Book 3, chapter17

Book 4

  • Book 4, chapter 1
  • Book 4, chapter 2
  • Book 4, chapter 3
  • Book 4, chapter 4
  • Book 4, chapter 5
  • Book 4, chapter 6
  • Book 4, chapter 7
  • Book 4, chapter 8
  • Book 4, chapter 9
  • Book 4, chapter 10
  • Book 4, chapter 11
  • Book 4, chapter 12
  • Book 4, chapter 13
  • Book 3, chapter 14
  • Book 4, chapter 15
  • Book 4, chapter 16
  • Book 4, chapter 17
  • Postscript in lieu of preface





This project gratefully acknowledges the support of the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Academy.