Northanger Abbey & Persuasion | 1818, rare first edition, 4 vol set, contemporary 19th century binding.

£25,000.00 GBP
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The first time Jane Austen was acknowledged as the author of her works.

An exceptionally rare first edition set of Northanger Abbey & Persuasion, with only 1750 examples published by John Murray in 1818. The most beautiful example I have seen, bound in a contemporary 19th century half calf with vivid marbled boards - always a joy to see Austen's works in contemporary bindings. Most examples to now feature on the market have recently been rebound.

Not only is this first edition a notorious rarity but it features the famous biographical note by Austen's brother Henry. Now, this is important as it not only provides the first account of Jane Austen's life but it is also the first public acknowledgement of Jane Austen being the author of all her novels. We take this for granted now, but this was a big deal when published. Jane Austen's name was finally placed with Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility and all the other works that have made her a legend of English Literature. 

Rather fascinatingly, although Austen's gothic parody Northanger Abbey had been drafted fifteen years earlier under a working title of 'Susan', it was abandoned when another novel of the same name appeared in 1809 and wasn't published until after her death, together with her final novel Persuasion.

In Northanger Abbey, Austen lampoon's many of the classic works and tropes of gothic literature but none more so than The Mysteries of Udolpho, considered to the archetypal Gothic novel.

I cannot recommend this set enough - a key work in any collection truly worth its salt.

First edition, one of only 1750 examples of the last of Jane Austen's novels to be published. Small octavo, four volumes. Bound in late 19th century half calf, spines gilt with red morocco spine labels, marbled boards. Lacking final 2 blanks in vol.4, neat contemporary ink ownership inscriptions to each front pastedown, some light foxing or spotting to pages but otherwise a very clean set internally. First issue point is present:  the biographical note by Austen's brother Henry, providing the first account of Jane Austen's life and the first public acknowledgement of Jane Austen being the author of all her novels. A stunning example of an exceptional rarity, made all the rarer with a contemporary 19th century binding (all other examples on the market have modern bindings). Published five months after her death, this represents her sole four-volume publication. Rare.

Published by John Murray, London, 1818.