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    Scarce First Edition of Jane Austen's First Published Novel, in a Full Morocco Binding by Rivière & Son

    [Jane Austen]. Sense and Sensibility: A Novel. In Three Volumes. By a Lady. Vol. I. [II. III.]. London: Printed for the Author, By C. Roworth, Bell-yard, Temple-bar, and Published by T. Egerton, Whitehall, 1811.

    First edition of Jane Austen's first published novel. Three twelvemo volumes. The measurements of the text blocks vary slightly: Volume I: 6.5625 x 3.8125 inches (166.5 x 97.5 mm.); Volume II: 6.625 x 3.875 inches (168 x 98.5 mm.); Volume III: 6.625 x 3.875 inches (168 x 99 mm.). [4], 317, [1, blank]; [4], 278; [4], 301, [1, blank] pages. Bound without the final blank leaf in each volume. Half-titles supplied in facsimile (with the uppermost thick-thin rule measuring 22 mm. in each volume). Printed on wove paper watermarked "IS / 1810" (mostly in Volumes I and II) and "1808" (mostly in Volume III).

    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 compartments, 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. Minimal rubbing to corners and spine extremities, a few tiny dark stains or areas of slight rubbing on covers. Free endpapers browned at the edges from turn-in glue.

    Volume I with a short tear to the outer blank margin of leaf B9 (pages 17/18), neatly repaired on the verso; gutter margin of C6 (pages 35/36) repaired on the recto; small hole, neatly repaired, in the outer blank margin of C12 (pages 47/48); expert and almost invisible paper repair to the upper blank margin of D1 (pages 49/50), just affecting parentheses in pagination; short tear to lower outer blank margin of H5 (pages 153/154), almost invisibly repaired; expert and almost invisibly repaired tear from the outer margin into the text of N12 (pages 287/288), just touching a few letters, but with no loss.

    Volume II with the author's name in pencil erased from title; paper repair to lower margin of leaf B11 (pages 21/22), affecting a couple of letters in the last three lines of text; tiny hole in D5 (pages 57/58), I2 (pages 169/170), and M6 (pages 251/252), each affecting one letter on the recto and one letter on the verso; short tear, neatly repaired, to the lower blank margin of L5 (pages 225/226).

    Volume III with a tiny hole in H4 (pages 151/152), affecting one letter on both the recto and verso; diagonal tear from the outer margin into the text on H7 (pages 157/158), affecting a few letters in two lines on the recto and three lines on the verso; tiny hole in M7 (pages 253/254), affecting both letters of the catchword on the recto; lower blank corner of O4 (pages 295/296) renewed; small stain in the upper gutter of G6-H1 (pages 131-146) and H3-H4 (pages 149-152); small, mostly marginal, stain to pages 212 and 213; tiny adhesion on page 297, affecting one letter.

    A few additional tiny marginal holes, tears, or neat repairs in each volume; a few leaves in each volume horizontally creased before printing, occasionally affecting a few letters, but with no loss; some additional occasional minor marginal soiling or staining; a few tiny rust spots. Previous owner's pencil inscription on the front flyleaf of Volume I. A few leaves have later pencil changes (mostly from "an" to "a"). Overall, a very attractive and clean copy.

    "Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility was at least fifteen years in the making: first conceived and written as Elinor and Marianne in 1795 (a date from family tradition), converted into Sense and Sensibility beginning in November 1797 from its previous epistolary form (also family memory), revised twelve years later in 1809 and 1810 with a view to publication, accepted by the publisher Thomas Egerton in the winter of 1810, and published, finally, on 30 October 1811...Although Sense and Sensibility was the first of Jane Austen's novels to reach publication, it was not the first to be offered for that honour. In previous tries, First Impressions, the initial version of Pride and Prejudice, was refused by Cadell and Davies by return post in November 1797, and Susan, the first version of Northanger Abbey, was sold in the spring of 1803, but never deemed worthy of publication by the publisher, Richard Crosby...The proofs of the first edition of Sense and Sensibility were in Austen's hands by April 1811, but its publication was not advertised until 30 October, price 15s., in an advertisement that appeared in the Star on 7 and again on 27 November, and was repeated in the Morning Chronicle on 31 October and on 7, 9 and 28 November. It is not known for certain how many copies were printed, though an earlier estimate of 1,000 copies has been revised downwards by recent research suggesting that from 500 to 750 copies of a first novel on commission would have been normal publishing practice for John Murray" (Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, Edited by Edward Copeland (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen), pages xxiii-xxvii).

    Gilson A1. Keynes, Austen, 1. Sadleir 62a.

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