First Edition of Jane Austen's Fourth Novel in a Full Morocco Binding by Rivière & Son[Jane Austen]. Emma: A Novel. In Three Volumes. By the Author of "Pride and Prejudice," &c. &c. Vol. I. [II. III.] London: Printed for John Murray, 1816.
First edition of Jane Austen's fourth published novel, considered by many her best, and the last to appear before her death in 1817 (both Persuasion and Northanger Abbey would be published posthumously). Three twelvemo volumes (each volume approximately 6.5625 x 4 inches; 168 x 102 mm.). , 322; , 351, [1, printer's imprint]; , 363, [1, advertisement for the second edition of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, and for Mansfield Park] pages. Printed on wove paper, with most sheets watermarked "1815" or "1815 / H", a few in Volume II "BUDGEN / 1815" or "J BUDGEN / 1815". Press figures in the last five gatherings of Volume III.
The title of Volume II is apparently supplied from another slightly narrower copy, a little soiled, with a short tear and a small piece missing from the outer blank margin, with the faint ink stamp of the Lincoln Mechanics' Institute on the title-page, with offsetting of the printer's imprint from the correct half-title visible on the recto ("London: Printed by C. Roworth, Bell-yard, Temple-bar."), and offsetting of the text of page 337 (leaf Q1 recto) in Volume II visible on the verso. Half-titles for all three volumes apparently supplied with a facsimile of the Volume III half-title (with printer's imprint on the verso: "London: Printed by J. Moyes, Greville Street.", with the lower dot of the colon not printed on all three half-titles).
Early twentieth-century full light brown crushed levant morocco by Rivière & Son (stamp-signed in gilt on the front turn-in of each volume). Covers with gilt triple fillet border, spines in six compartments with five gilt-dotted raised bands, decoratively tooled in gilt in four compartments and lettered in gilt in the remaining two, with the date in gilt in the bottom compartment, board edges ruled in gilt, turn-ins ruled in gilt and decoratively tooled in gilt, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Light rubbing to corners and to joints at head and tail of spine; joints becoming tender; foot of spine of Volume I bumped, with a quarter-inch split neatly repaired; a few small dark stains or areas of slight rubbing on covers; small (quarter-inch) divot to the rear cover of Volume II; free endpapers browned at the edges from turn-in glue.
Volume I with a faint stain to the upper edge of the front free endpaper, front flyleaves, and half-title; B1 (pages 1/2) creased horizontally, with a short split strengthened on the recto, and with a small portion of the lower corner renewed; almost invisible repair to the lower gutter margin of E4 (pages 79/80); tiny adhesion to page 185, affecting one letter; a few marks or stains on K4 (pages 199/200); L1 (pages 217/218) diagonally creased before printing; one-inch repaired tear to the upper margin of P2 (pages 315/316) and P3 (pages 317/318); short tear to the outer margin and two short repaired tears in the gutter margin of P5 (pages 321/322).
Volume II with a tiny nick to the outer edge of leaves C2-C10 (pages 27-44), D11 (pages 69/70), and E8 (pages 87/88); G2 (pages 123/124) creased diagonally before printing; most leaves in gathering K creased horizontally before printing, sometimes affecting the text, especially on K10 (page 211); one-inch tear to the lower margin of K1 (pages 193/194) creased both diagonally and horizontally, with a three-quarter-inch split in the lower blank margin; M2 (pages 243/244) creased diagonally before printing, affecting the catchword on page 243.
Volume III with a small stain to the outer margin of B1 (pages 1/2); tiny piece torn from the lower corner of C5 (pages 33/34) and D4 (pages 55/56); tiny hole in the upper blank margin of D12 (pages 71/72); a few faint red marginal stains on pages 74 and 75; E3 (pages 77/78) creased horizontally before printing, affecting a couple of letters on the verso; small stain or slight abrasion to page 103, affecting a few letters on page 104; tiny nick to the outer edge of I1 (pages 169/170); small piece torn from the outer blank margin of L12 (pages 239/240); P4 (pages 319/320) creased horizontally; tiny sliver torn from the outer edge of Q10 (pages 355/356). In addition, page 215 is incorrectly numbered 515 and corrected in pencil; page 233, line 17, has a pencil correction "side" to "cede".
Overall, a very good copy, attractively bound.
Jane Austen began to write Emma in January of 1814 and finished it a little over a year later, in March of 1815. It was published on 29 December 1815. "2000 copies were printed, and of these the records show that 1248 were sold by October 1816" (Gilson). The first American edition appeared in Philadelphia in 1816 and the first French translation in Paris in the same year, with a partial reissue in Vienna in 1817. No further editions are known until Richard Bentley's reissue in his Standard Novels series in February 1833.
Gilson A8. Keynes, Austen, 8. Sadleir 62d.
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