Fine Books and Manuscripts

Fine Books and Manuscripts

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 1002. [Austen, Jane] | A handsome first edition in boards of the author's debut novel.

Property from an Important American Collection

[Austen, Jane] | A handsome first edition in boards of the author's debut novel

Lot Closed

December 8, 07:03 PM GMT


70,000 - 100,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from an Important American Collection

[Austen, Jane]

Sense and Sensibility: A Novel. Printed for the Author by C. Rowarth [...] and published by T. Egerton, 1811

3 volumes, 12mo (184 x 111 mm). Half-titles, uncut; faint ownership inscription to upper margin of volume I title, light spotting, volume I with faint dampstaining to a few leaves relegated primarily to the upper margins. Original blue-gray paper-covered boards, cream paper spines, labels to spines; extremities rubbed, loss chipping to heads and feet of spines, second volume skillfully rebacked with label in facsimile, light soiling, corners bumped. Morocco clamshell box.

The first edition in the original boards of Austen's debut novel.

"I am never too busy to think of S & S. I can no more forget it, than a mother can forget her sucking child; & I am much obliged to you for your enquiries." Jane Austen in a letter to her sister, Cassandra, 25 April 1811.

Started as early as 1795 at Steventon, when Austen was 19, the novel follows the three Dashwood sisters through the trials and tribulations of love, heartbreak and financial troubles in late eighteenth century England. It was originally titled Elinor & Marianne, and allegedly began in epistolary form. Austen revised the text in 1797-8 into narrative style and again in 1809-10.

According to the author's brother Henry, it was only with "extreme difficulty" that Austen's circle was able to convince her to publish her first book. Eventually, Austen paid for the book to be published herself, spending more than a third of her annual income on the publication costs. She chose to remain anonymous, with the title simply stating "By a Lady". At 35, Austen's "suckling child" was published at last. The investment was a success, and by July 1813 the first edition was sold out, and Austen wrote to another of her six brothers: "it has brought me £140 besides the Copyright, if that should ever be of any value. - I have now therefore written myself into £250..." (8 July 1813). A second edition followed in October 1813, Pride and Prejudice having been published earlier that year.

An exquisite survival.


Garside and Schöwerling 1811:16; Gilson A1; Keynes 1; Sadleir 62a