RARE SECOND EDITION OF JANE EYRE, “THE MOST FAMOUS SECOND EDITION IN THE CHRONICLE OF VICTORIAN BIBLIOGRAPHY”, WITH THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF BRONTE’S FAMOUS DEDICATION TO THACKERAY
[BRONTE, Charlotte] BELL, Currer. Jane Eyre: An Autobiography. London: Smith, Elder, 1848. Three volumes. Octavo, recent full crushed brown morocco gilt, black morocco spine labels, raised bands, top edge gilt, marbled endpapers; original cloth bound in. $12,500.
Important second edition of Jane Eyre (printed only three months after the first edition), containing the first appearance of Bronte’s famous dedication to Thackeray, which contributed greatly to the success of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair.
When Charlotte Bronte, after having earlier manuscripts rejected by publishers, submitted Jane Eyre to Smith & Elder in 1847 under the pseudonym "Currer Bell," the firm "recognised its great power. It was immediately accepted and published in [October] 1847. Jane Eyre achieved at once a surprising success. Charlotte… had learnt to combine extraordinary power of expressing passion with an equally surprising power of giving reality to her pictures which transfigures the commonest scenes and events in the light of genius… The second edition, dedicated to Thackeray, appeared in January 1848." (DNB). The novel's earliest critics were "somewhat lacking in cordiality, but Mr. Bell believed, quite accurately, that 'a brisk sale would be effectual support under the hauteur of lofty critics'… The 'effectual support sought by Mr. Bell was not lacking; in January, 1848, a second edition of Jane Eyre appeared—the most famous second edition in the chronicle of Victorian bibliography, and a collector's item in its own right. For this second edition contained the dedication to Thackeray which proved an 'effectual support' to Vanity Fair" (Winterich, 23 Books and the Stories Behind Them, 62). This dedication to Thackeray was also scandalous, as he had a wife who was certified insane, and some felt the novel to have been inspired by his situation. Likewise, "an absurd story to the effect that Miss Brontë was represented by Becky Sharp and Thackeray by Mr. Rochester became current" (DNB). Published just three months after the first edition. Bound without advertisements, with original cloth covers bound in (without original cloth spine of volume III). Smith, 24. CBEL III: 461. BMC 4: 241. Bookplate of George Mason La Monte, the American businessman, philanthropist, and New Jersey Democratic politician.
Volume III with expert cleaning to text, a very good copy.