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Sense and Sensibility
Sense and Sensibility
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“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.”
Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen, 1811

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Sense and Sensibility
Jane Austen, 1811
[AUSTEN, Jane (1775-1817).] Sense and Sensibility. London: for the author by C. Roworth and published by T. Egerton, 1811.

First edition of Jane Austen’s first published novel, which grew from a sketch entitled Elinor and Marianne written in 1795 in epistolary form. It was substantially revised in 1797-1798 at Steventon and again in 1809-1810, the first year of Jane Austen's residence at Chawton. Thomas Egerton undertook publication on a commission basis, and Austen “actually made a reserve from her very moderate income to meet the expected loss.” The price of the new novel was 15 shillings in boards, advertisements first appearing for it on 30 October 1811. Keynes suggests that the edition was printed in “only 1000 copies or even less.” When it sold out in less than two years, the author wrote delightedly to her brother Francis (3 July 1813): “You will be glad to hear that every copy of Sense and Sensibility is sold and that it has brought me £140 beside the copyright, if that should ever be of any value.” Gilson A1; Keynes 1; Sadleir 62b.

Three volumes, 12mo (173 x 112mm). Half-titles, with the final blanks at the end of vols 2 and 3. (Author's name written in pencil on each title, crowned initial "G" stamp.) Contemporary half calf, spines gilt, red morocco lettering pieces (light wear to calf including a little flaking to spines); custom box. Provenance: Francis, Lord Gray (i.e. the 14th Lord Gray, 1765-1858, President of the Society of Antiquaries; bookplates) – Sotheby's, 19 December 2000, lot 71.

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Heather Weintraub
Heather Weintraub Specialist, Books, Manuscripts, & Archives

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