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Published: Sunday August 24, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday August 24, 2014 MYT 6:23:02 PM

Mightiest pen of all: Signed Charles Dickens book valued at RM1.5mil

A signed early edition of A Tale Of Two Cities sent by Charles Dickens to George Eliot, in which Dickens expresses his “high admiration and regard” for his fellow novelist, has been valued at more than a quarter of a million pounds.

Peter Harrington, a rare bookseller in London, has put a price of £275,000 (RM1.4mil) on the copy of A Tale Of Two Cities, which features Dickens’ signature and the inscription: “To George Eliot. With high admiration and regard. December, 1859.” 

Dickens had been a fan of Eliot ever since the author, whose real name was Mary Ann Evans, sent him a copy of her debut, Scenes Of Clerical Life. Writing to her in 1858 to tell her of his admiration, Dickens was one of the first people to guess that Eliot might be a woman. He praised the “exquisite truth and delicacy” of her stories, which he said he had “never seen the like of”. 

“I should have been strongly disposed, if I had been left to my own devices, to address the said writer as a woman,” Dickens continued.

Charles Dickens and George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans).

Later, when Eliot sent Dickens a copy of her novel Adam Bede in July 1859, she would reveal her identity – a piece of news Dickens told her he would keep in confidence, adding what a “rare and genuine delight” it had been “to become acquainted in the spirit with so noble a writer”.

The copy of A Tale Of Two Cities he sent to Eliot is a presentation copy – authors would request a handful of copies from their publishers to give away early to the people they wanted to see it, says Pom Harrington at Peter Harrington. The edition resurfaced in the 1920s, when the step-granddaughter of Eliot decided to sell it. – Guardian News & Media

Tags / Keywords: Charles Dickens, George Eliot, rare books, Peter Harrington, signed book

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