"HER GREATEST NOVEL": 1836 THIRD EDITION OF EMMA
AUSTEN, Jane. Emma. London: Richard Bentley, 1836. 12mo, contemporary three-quarter red pebbled morocco, later red morocco spine labels, raised bands, marbled boards, endpapers and edges.
Third edition of the last novel Austen published in her lifetime, her exquisitely comedic and unerringly insightful social satire—"artistry… as elaborate as any novelist has ever achieved," with engraved frontispiece illustration and engraved vignette title page, in contemporary morocco.
"Emma was the fourth and last novel which Jane Austen published in her lifetime. When it was written the author was at the height of her powers, and she wrote the book rapidly and surely, encouraged by the success of her previous novels to express herself with confidence in the way peculiarly her own" (Rosenbach 29:24). "Jane Austen's fourth novel has a profundity similar to that of Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, only more elusive since Emma's character is far more subtle than Elizabeth or Marianne's… Austen's self-knowledge, her love of detail… [helped her] to create a proud, self-willed, self-guided, vexing and outrageous Emma and her greatest novel" (Honan, Jane Austen, 356-364). "No English reissue of Austen's novels is known after 1818 until in 1832 Richard Bentley decided to include them in his series of Standard Novels… Bentley's reprinting of the novels, each complete in one volume, was presumably intended for the private buyer; there is evidence that some circulating libraries were still well supplied with copies of the original editions" (Gilson, 211). First published in 1816. Bentley's "Standard Novels" edition—the second edition—first appeared in 1833; the present edition was issued by Bentley to form part of a five-volume set of Austen's novels in 1836, using general title pages dated 1833 (both letterpress title pages are present in this volume). An American edition appeared in 1833. Gilson D7. Old bookseller label.
Interior generally clean; binding with some light rubbing and shelf-wear, but sound and quite attractive. Excellent and desirable in contemporary morocco.