“A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment": Rare First Edition of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice.
Item Number: 81002
London: Printed for T. Egerton, 1813.
First editions of all three volumes of Jane Austen’s second novel and most popular. Octavo, three volumes, bound in full morocco by Zaehnsdorf, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, black morocco spine labels, all edges gilt, double gilt ruling to the front and rear panels, inner dentelles, marbled endpapers. In near fine condition with all three half titles present, the half-title of Volume I bound in from an early printing, bookplate to the pastedown. Volume I with the imprint of Sidney on the verso of the half title and Roworth at the end of the text. Volumes II and III printed by Sidney with their imprints on both the versos of the half titles and at the end of the text of each volume. A superior example of this landmark work in English literature.
Pride and Prejudice was written between October 1796 and August 1797 when Jane Austen was not yet twenty-one. After an early rejection by the publisher Cadell, who had not even read it, Austen's novel was finally bought by Egerton in 1812 for £110. It was published in late January 1813 in a small edition of approximately 1500 copies and sold for 18 shillings in boards. Volume I of the first edition was printed by Roworth and Volumes II and III by Sidney, and their imprints appear both on the versos of the half titles and at the end of the text of each volume In a letter to her sister Cassandra on 29 January 1813, Austen writes of receiving her copy of the newly publishing novel (her "own darling child"), and while acknowledging its few errors, she expresses her feelings toward its heroine as such: "I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, & how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know." Gilson A3; Grolier English 69; Keynes 3; Sadleir 62b.