Emma; A Novel. In Three Volumes. By the Author of “Pride and Prejudice,” &c. &c.

First Edition of Jane Austen’s “Emma”

[AUSTEN, Jane]. Emma: A Novel. In Three Volumes. By the Author of “Pride and Prejudice,” &c. &c. London: Printed for John Murray, 1816.

First edition. Three twelvemo volumes (6 5/8 x 4inches; 169 x 101 mm.). [6], 322; [4], 351, [1, printer’s imprint]; [4], 363, [1, advertisements] pp. Complete with all half-titles and with the dedication leaf in Volume I.

Early twentieth-century antique-style mottled calf by Bartlett & Co. of Boston (stamp-signed on front free endpaper). Covers decoratively bordered in gilt, spines decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments with two brown morocco gilt lettering labels, board edges ruled in gilt, turn-ins decoratively tooled in gilt, all edges gilt. Some foxing and browning. Volume I with small portion of upper blank corner of D9 (pp. 65/66) renewed and with small paper repair to lower inner margin of O7 (pp. 301/302). Volume II with small portion lower blank corner of B12 (pp. 23/24) renewed. Early ink signature washed from title-page of Volume III. An excellent copy.

Emma was published on 29 December 1815. “2000 copies were printed, and of these the records show that 1248 were sold by October 1816” (Gilson). The first American edition appeared in Philadelphia in 1816 and the first French translation in Paris in the same year, with a partial reissue in Vienna in 1817. No further editions are known until Richard Bentley’s reissue in his Standard Novels series in February 1833.

“Of all Austen’s novels, Emma is the most consistently comic in tone. It centers on Emma Woodhouse, a wealthy, pretty, self-satisfied young woman who indulges herself with meddlesome and unsuccessful attempts at matchmaking among her friends and neighbors. After a series of humiliating errors, a chastened Emma finds her destiny in marriage to the mature and protective George Knightley, a neighboring squire who had been her mentor and friend” (Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature).

Gilson A8. Keynes, Austen, 8. Sadleir 62d. Item #00235

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