The Chimes, by Charles Dickens, Illustrations by Arthur Rackham, Limited Editions Club, 1931

The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In, first published in 1844, is a short novel by Charles Dickens, written one year after his hugely successful A Christmas Carol. It was the second of what was to be five Christmas books written by Dickens. The story is told in a typical Dickensian manner. The protagonist has a series of visions which he is forced to watch, without being able to interfere with, the troubled lives of those he cares most about.  Like A Christmas Carol, The Chimes carries a strong moral message.

The chimes represent time, and Dickens uses the theme to evangelize his message. The story reminds us that the poor and unfortunate deserve help and pity, not scorn and abuse. He attempts to show that the fallen are not wicked by nature, that they, like all, strive for good. However, constantly being beaten down eventually takes a toll, causing even the strong to fall. Ultimately, Dickens pushes readers to keep faith that man can improve. He reminds us that people should do all they can to make the here and now as good as can be, rather than harken back to a Golden Age that never really existed.

This edition of The Chimes, published by the Limited Editions Club (LEC) in 1931 is special and well sought after due to it being illustrated by the great 20th Century book illustrator Arthur Rackham (1867-1939). Rackham’s works are very collectible, and the list of classics that he illustrated is quite lengthy. Besides The Chimes, Rackham illustrated two other books for the LEC, The Wind in the Willows and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. All are among the more expensive of the LEC’s.

About the Edition

  • Published in 1931
  • Illustrated with line drawings by Arthur Rackham, in total 24 illustrations, the binding design, the end paper design, plus the frontispiece
  • Designed, printed and bound by George W. Jones, at The Sign of the Dolphin, near Dr. Johnson’s House in Gough Square, London, England
  • Introduced by Edward Wagenknecht
  • Printed in Linotype Estienne on white Japon vellum
  • Full cream buckram over bevelled boards, stamped in black and gold, gilded top
  • Large octavo, 7 3/4″ x 11 1/2″, 172 pages
  • Signed by Rackham
  • Slipcases made of tan paper, with a decorative design of bells chiming, in red and gold
  • Limited to 1500 copies, mine is #1215

Pictures

{Ed Note: apologize for the poor lighting on some of these; kept getting cloud cover but wanted natural light.}

The Chimes, LEC, Slipcase
The Chimes, LEC, Book in Slipcase
The Chimes, LEC, Front Cover
The Chimes, LEC, Endpapers
The Chimes, LEC, Frontispiece
The Chimes, LEC, Title Page
The Chimes, LEC, Sample Text and Illustration #1 (Introduction)
The Chimes, LEC, Sample Text and Illustration #2
The Chimes, LEC, Sample Text and Illustration #3
The Chimes, LEC, Sample Text and Illustration #4
The Chimes, LEC, Colophon (signed by Rackham)

7 thoughts on “The Chimes, by Charles Dickens, Illustrations by Arthur Rackham, Limited Editions Club, 1931

  1. Come to find out, this ‘typed’ letter, and I have a few books with these, must have been done second hand at some point. LEC itself never sent out such hand typed letters; in fact, according to Carol Grossman, who is writing a book on the LEC told me concerning the early letters that “They were printed letterpress by some of the same printers who printed the books themselves, and were printed on very fine papers, some of which were made by Dard Hunter. In the old days, they would be mailed out in advance of the book, so Macy wanted to be sure they represented his books well. Also, one of the versions of the first prospectus was hard bound with marbled paper sides and printed by DB Updike, one of the finest American printers!”

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