Sense and Sensibility

Jane AUSTEN

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Item#: 125891 price:$18,000.00

Sense and Sensibility
Sense and Sensibility
Sense and Sensibility

"RELATIVELY FEW COPIES OF THE 1832-33 PHILADELPHIA EDITIONS ARE KNOWN TO SURVIVE": VERY SCARCE 1833 FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF AUSTEN'S FIRST NOVEL, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

AUSTEN, Jane. Sense and Sensibility: A Novel. Philadelphia: Carey & Lea, 1833. Two volumes bound in one. 12mo, period-style full red morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, boards, edges and dentelles; raised bands, marbled endpapers. $18,000.

First American edition—an edition of only 1250 copies—of Jane Austen's first novel, on "the twin themes of prudence and benevolence, reason and passion, head and heart, or sense and sensibility," sumptuously bound.

Sense and Sensibility "does brightly respond to an interesting religious and ethical debate over the philosophy of sentiment… [The popular view held that morality] depends on the 'heart' and not on the 'head… Rational moralists opposed the tendency, and a debate was in full swing by the 1790s when novel after novel took up the twin themes of prudence and benevolence, reason and passion, head and heart, or sense and sensibility" (Honan, Jane Austen, 275-77).

Only Emma (1816) was published in the United States in Austen's lifetime, an extremely rare edition that she makes no reference to in her letters. "The first English editions of Austen's novels may be supposed to have been available in the United States at an early date… Chief Justice John Marshall in a letter of 1826 mentioned that he had just finished reading Austen's novels… It has been shown too that James Fenimore Cooper's first novel Precaution was an imitation of Persuasion (of which no American edition was published before 1832). It may be, therefore, that the availability of London editions in North America satisfied early local demand for Austen's novels, but, whether or not that is so, no other American edition is known before the issue of all six titles, each in two volumes, by Carey & Lea of Philadelphia in 1832-33. The survival (and publication) of the publisher's records for the years in question has provided details of publication costs, size of editions, etc., and the novels were also regularly advertised in the local press; but… little contemporary critical opinion has been traced. Relatively few copies of the 1832-33 Philadelphia editions are known to survive" (Gilson, 97-98).

"The most striking feature of the first American editions is the amount of textual variation." In addition to many minor differences of spelling and punctuation, "there is also what can only be described as a bowdlerizing tendency, seen chiefly in the omission of the name of the Deity from the exclamations of the vulgar, or from those of the major characters in moments of stress" (Gilson, 98). Bound without publisher's ads. Gilson B6. Keynes 14.

Some light foxing to text; title page of Volume I toned. Beautifully bound.

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