"HER GREATEST NOVEL": FIRST EDITION OF AUSTEN'S EMMA, IN CONTEMPORARY BINDINGS
AUSTEN, Jane. Emma: A Novel. By the Author of "Pride and Prejudice." London: John Murray, 1816. Three volumes. Tall 12mo, contemporary three-quarter brown calf gilt, marbled boards; housed in a custom slipcase. $40,000.
First 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 all half titles, in a lovely contemporary binding.
"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). Printed in an edition of only 2000 copies at the author's expense. With rare half titles in all three volumes. Gilson A8. Keynes 8. A few early pencil notations.
Scattered foxing to interior; restored binding with light edgewear, renewed corners. An extremely good copy of this scarce and important Austen classic.