FIRST COLLECTED AND FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION OF THE NOVELS OF JANE AUSTEN, 1833
AUSTEN, Jane. Novels. London: Richard Bentley, 1833. Five volumes. Small octavo, modern full brown calf gilt, raised bands, red morocco spine labels, marbled endpapers and edges. $28,000.
Important first collected and first illustrated edition of the novels of Jane Austen, "mother of the English 19th-century novel" (Kunitz & Haycraft), printed from the plates of Bentley's "Standard Novel" editions of 1833, each volume with engraved frontispiece illustration and vignette title page, finely bound. "Very rare in any state" (Gilson).
"The fact that [Austen] wrote comparatively little and that that little is almost always of the highest quality has resulted in the unique distinction which her reputation now enjoys, that she is the only author of her period whose works can be read, and are read, today with delight in their entirety" (Baugh, et al., 1206). Bentley's first collected edition of Austen's novels includes Sense and Sensibility (originally published 1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Emma (1815), Mansfield Park (1814) and Northanger Abbey and Persuasion (both published posthumously in 1818). "The unconscious charm of the domestic atmosphere of the stories, and the delicate subsatirical humor which pervades them, have won her the admiration, even to fanaticism, of innumerable readers" (DNB). When this edition first appeared, with its memoir of the author by Henry Austen, it triggered an interest in Jane Austen's works which has never flagged since. Bound without half titles. Gilson D6. Keynes 27. Sadleir 3735a. Owner ink signatures to engraved title page of Emma and letterpress title page of Pride and Prejudice.
A clean, handsomely bound set in fine condition.