"HER GREATEST NOVEL": 1833 SECOND EDITION OF EMMA
AUSTEN, Jane. Emma. London: Richard Bentley, 1833. 12mo, period-style full tree calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and boards, red morocco spine labels, marbled endpapers. $6200.
Second 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," the first edition to list Austen as the author by name and the first illustrated edition, with engraved frontispiece illustration and engraved vignette title page. Beautifully bound.
"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. Gilson D7.
Scattered light foxing to text. A lovely copy.