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“Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.”
Mansfield Park

Jane Austen, 1814

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Mansfield Park
Jane Austen, 1814
[AUSTEN, Jane (1775-1817).] Mansfield Park: A Novel. London: T. Egerton, 1814.

The Jerome Kern copy of the first edition, uncut in original boards and with contemporary circulation notes written on the covers. This is Austen’s third published novel. Written between February 1811 and June 1813, Mansfield Park was the first of her works to be conceived and wholly written at Chawton. Published in May 1814 in a run of around 1250 copies, the first edition was sold out by November of the same year. The sale of the book was on a commission basis, with Austen retaining the copyright. This copy records 18 readers over the course of two years, beginning with Mrs. Nichols in August 1814. RBH/ABPC record no other copy in the original boards since 1976.

Mansfield Park represents “a milestone in the English novel” (Wiltshire, p.65). Compared with her previous novel, Pride and Prejudice, it is “evidently the work of an older, maturer, woman” (p.59), in which “for the first and only time in her novels, Jane Austen continuously allows the narrative to move freely in and out of the consciousnesses of a whole range of characters” (p.61). Fanny Price, the heroine of Mansfield Park, is the antithesis of Elizabeth Bennet, her counterpart in Pride and Prejudice. Where Elizabeth is daring and irreverent, Fanny is defined by her modesty and awkwardness, by her compliance and constancy. Yet it is these virtues for which Fanny is rewarded at the novel’s conclusion. Gilson A6; Keynes p. 11; Sadleir I, 62c; Wiltshire, The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, 1997.

Three volumes, 12mo (188 x 110mm). Half-titles in each volume. Original boards, uncut (mild rubbing, soft corners, rebacked in the early 20th century, circulating library notes to covers are faded); custom cloth fall-back case by Sangorski & Sutcliffe (repaired). Provenance: Mrs. Nicholas (ownership inscription with price on vol. 1 front inside cover, her name heading the list of readers on the front cover of each vol., vols. 2 and 3 dated 11 August 1814) – probably Sotheby's, 1 February 1904, lot 5 (Gilson description of this copy) – Jerome Kern, 1885-1945 (morocco bookplate to chemise; his sale, Anderson Galleries, 7 January 1929, lot 21) – Sotheby's New York, 12 December 2001, lot 109.

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

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