A Latter-day Bluestocking

For the love of reading

Tag: pride-and-prejudice

I am Seriously Considering Bank Robbery…

…So that I can get my hands on first editions of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice.  These lovely volumes are on offer through AbeBooks.com.  Of course, if anyone wants to donate these to my addiction…

Sense and Sensibility  by A Lady

Published in 3 volumes by T. Egerton, London in 1811

A smart and highly collectible First Edition of Austen’s classic novel, complete in three volumes. Rebound in half-leather with spine labels, gilt lettering and decoration, and marbled paper-covered boards, with a cloth-covered slipcase. Published under the pseudonym, ‘A Lady’. With facsimile half-titles in each volume, and a facsimile title page in volume I. Bears Walter Hore’s signature on the first page of volume I, and dated inscriptions on the title pages of volumes II and III. Condition: Overall a good unmolested copy that has not been cleaned or restored and would come up a treat in the hands of a professional restorer. A pleasure to see a copy of this important work before the attentions of a restorer so that the purchaser can decide on how far to restore and know what has and has not been done. Rebound sympathetically. The bindings are tight and firm. There is very little wear to the extremities or to the slipcase. Internally the pages have light scattered foxing throughout, with occasional marks and mild browning. In volume I there are some closed tears and chips to the lower margins of the first quarter, with the lower corners of a couple of pages missing, not affecting text, a hole to the margin of page seventy-one, and repairs to closed tears on a few pages and to a split across page sixty-five. There are stains to the top corners of pages 292 and 293, and 158 and 159. In volume II there is light ink staining to the margins of pages 114/115, which does not affect the text. The bottom corners of a couple of pages are missing, and there is a small hole to the margin of the last page, none of which affect the text. The lower corner of page ninety-one is missing and has been repaired,with the loss to the text replaced in handwritten ink. The lower section of page 139 has been repaired, with the last four lines handwritten on both sides. In volume III there is very slight evidence of damage to the lower margins of the title page to page forty-four. There is also an ink mark to page sixty-three and smudged early copper-plate notes to the top margin, and a note to the top margin of page fifty-nine. With a small tidemark to the outer margin of 149, chips to the lower margins of pages five to nine, and closed tears to the lower margins of several pages. The lower corner of page nineteen is missing, and there is light staining to the lower corners of pages 102 and 103. There are small holes to the lower margins of pages 159 and 161. A small section of the first page of volume I has been removed, and small sections of the title pages of volumes II and III have been removed and repaired. Overall the condition is very good with a good interior.

Price:  $63,006.62

Pride and Prejudice  by A Lady

Published in 3 volumes by T. Egerton, London in 1813

First edition. Three volumes. 12mo. Bound in a fine early 20th century full brown crushed morocco Riviere binding, gilt titles and decorations to spines. All edges gilt, marbled endpapers, gilt inner dentelles. Binding shows very minor wear, a few light scuffs to corners, and few small spots to volume III. While often lacking, the half titles are present, vol I and III appear to be supplied from a second edition. Volume I: minor chips to pages 143/144 and 157/158; and a few minor creases to gatherings M and N. Volume II: tiny tear to rear flyleaf, small tear to outer margin of page 77. Some very minor scattered spotting. Volume III: small repair to upper corner of page 129, repair to lower corner of page 137/138, tiny pin hole to page 259/260. A beautiful, clean and very attractive set. Gilson A3. Austen’s second work, Pride and Prejudice, is her most famous and one of the most popular books ever written. The unforgettable story of the Bennet sisters quickly sold out of the first printing, and editions of this 1813 original are very scarce. Austen was highly praised by Sir Walter Scott, among others, for her proficiency in describing human emotions and the complexity of relationships. Pride and Prejudice established Austen as one of the most relevant and important female writers of her time, and it’s popularity is a prime example of why she is so highly regarded even today.

Price:  $60,000

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Jane Austen’s Fight Club

I want to share this link because I am on a serious Jane Austen bender at the moment (when am I not?) and I think this is an amusing and raucous mashup.  I’ve seen it so many times and yet I am still laughing.  Enjoy.

“I dearly love a laugh… I hope I never ridicule what is wise or good. Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can.” (Pride and Prejudice)

Jane Austen’s Fight Club on Vimeo

Why Jane Austen? Why, indeed!

I have just finished Why Jane Austen? by Rachel M. Brownstein.  It is a scholarly book, a serious discourse that attempts to interpret why Jane Austen is considered such a great writer and why she has become such a phenomenon in this day and age.  The author strives to explain and understand from many viewpoints: Jane Austen’s contemporaries, her family, the young girls who are looking for a simple courtship story, women who see early feminist messages á la Mary Wollstonecraft, white-haired ladies who ooh and aah at the neat writing of her manuscripts and letters, and the zealots who would defend, to the death, her genius.  It is a well-written book; the author, a professor at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center and who has lectured at meetings of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), knows her stuff.  I enjoyed reading it but found parts of the book dry and, at times, confusing.  I am wondering if my dense reading of this book is because it wasn’t what I expected.  The well-known axiom, “don’t judge a book by its cover” is appropriate here as the cover picturing a Jane Austen “action figure” atop a stack of books belies its content.  I thought it would be a “light, bright and sparkling” book appropriate for summer holiday reading.  Beach reading it was not.

No sooner had I read the last page I began to question why I love Jane Austen so much.  Oddly enough, it is a tough question to answer, most likely because my outlook towards her has changed over the years.  I must admit I came to her quite late.  I never read Pride and Prejudice as a giddy schoolgirl; I discovered her in college.  I am embarrassed to say that my introduction to Jane Austen was through the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth as Elizabeth and Darcy.  I remember loving it as I tried to watch while being teased by a neanderthal who felt that the highly mannered society, the clothes and stately settings, and period language were pretentious.  I read the book and soon after the other five novels.  I fell in love.

A small part of my Jane Austen collection

Since then, I have read the biographies, the Juvenilia, the letters, magazines, articles, on-line blogs, and have re-read the books countless times.  I would rather go hungry than not purchase the newest edition of any of the novels, biography, or critical essays.  I even watch and enjoy the cinematic versions of the books and Jane Austen’s life.  My favorite P&P is no longer the Firth one; he being much too Byronic for my tastes and not the Darcy of the novel.  I have read each book in different ways, sometimes I focus on character, sometimes it’s the language, I like to focus on reading between the lines to gently uncover Jane Austen’s witty and humorous and very accurate assessments of the people we still come into contact today.  She was a master of language; her writing so exquisite and at the same time so humble.  Unless you are looking for it this can be easy to miss.   Virginia Woolf summed it up best in A Room of One’s Own,

“Anyone who has the temerity to write about Jane Austen is aware…that of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness.”

So why Jane Austen?  Because I am the giddy girl seeking romance, the intellectual woman looking for discourse on the perfect novel, the feminist fighting for female independence and a break from the accepted docile rendering of womanhood, the gray-haired lady who values penmanship, civility, and manners.  Jane Austen answers to all of these various parts of my personality and so much more.  I’ve never been let down by her and have always been able to find a kernel of wisdom, laughter, and joy no matter my mood.  Her words have uplifted my spirits, answered difficult questions, and given me an understanding of people through the behavior of her characters.  She is great.  It is as simple as that.

Quote of the Day: Jane Austen

Title page from the first edition of the first...

Image via Wikipedia

“All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”  (Pride and Prejudice, Vol I., Ch. VIII)

"Give me but a little cheerful company, let me only have the company of the people I love, let me only be where I like and with whom I like, and the devil may take the rest, say I."

Jane Austen’s Will

If I could have tea with any one author, dead or alive, I would choose unhesitatingly, Jane Austen. Despite the countless books and articles, blogs, societies, websites, and fan pages dedicated to her, she remains an enigma. Oh, her books are studies in perfection, glimpses of her wit are revealed in her letters, and their are only two confirmed images of her (one only of her back) but do we really know who she was? I think everyone has an idea of who Jane Austen was but much of our perception of her is through the white-wash job presented by her Victorian relations. An insipid view, in my opinion, and far from the truth.

Her books, letters, Juvenilia, and unfinished manuscripts show a woman not demure and quiet but funny, engaging, intelligent, and, on occasion, peevish. I don’t doubt that Miss Austen would be a refreshing teatime companion and I would only hope to hold my own and not invite her jocular ridicule in a later letter to her sister, Cassandra.

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