• The William E. Self Library, I auction at Christies

    Sale 2153

    The William E. Self Library, Important English and American Literature

    4 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 19

    [BRONTË, Charlotte]. Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. Edited by Currer Bell. London: Smith Elder, 1847.

    Price Realised  

    [BRONTË, Charlotte]. Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. Edited by Currer Bell. London: Smith Elder, 1847.

    3 volumes, 8o. Half-titles, publisher's 32-page catalogue dated October 1847 preceded by inset fly title dated June 1847 and one advertising leaf for The Calcutta Review at end of volume I. Original plum cloth, covers stamped in blind with triple-line border enclosing ropework border, gilt-lettered on spines (some repairs to spine ends and joints); quarter morocco slipcase.

    "AT THE END WE ARE STEEPED THROUGH AND THROUGH WITH THE GENIUS, THE VEHEMENCE, THE INDIGNATION OF CHARLOTTE BRONTë" (Virginia Woolf)

    FIRST EDITION of Charlotte Brontë's revolutionary novel, abounding with social criticism and gothic elements that changed the course of the English novel, and particularly the female heroine. After numerous publishers initially rejected her first novel The Professor, Brontë intensely focused her attention on a new work, rapidly finishing certain sections, while others took weeks or even months to complete, as reported by Elizabeth Gaskell. When she delivered the fair copy of the manuscript to Smith, Elder on 19 August 1847, it was received enthusiastically by their reader W. Smith Williams and by the head of the firm, George Smith. It was printed on 19 October; the second edition, dedicated to William Makepeace Thackeray, was published in January 1848. It was very well received by both critics and the public, and by 1850 four editions had been printed. Ashley I:72; Grolier English 83; David Magee, Victoria R.I. 117; Parrish, Victorian Lady Novelists, pp. 87-88; Sadleir 346; Smith 2; Wolff 826. (3)


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