La Famille Elliot ou L’Ancienne Inclination

Object name: La Famille Elliot ou L’Ancienne Inclination. First French edition of Persuasion.

Object number: CHWJA:JAHB126

Category: Books

Description: La Famille Elliot ou L’Ancienne Inclination, published in Paris in 1821 (although listed as 1822 on the volume). Vol 2 only is present. The volume is in its original paper wrappers which shows the stitching down the spine.

Made: 1821

Context: This is the first translation to have Jane Austen’s full name on the title page. It is also the first edition of any of Jane Austen’s novels to feature illustrations, with an engraved frontispiece in each volume. The illustrations are by Delvaux after Charles Abraham Chasselat.

The translation was by the Swiss novelist and translator Isabelle de Montolieu (1751–1832), who was known for her translations and adaptations from English and German.

The frontispiece to the first volume (not present) shows Captain Wentworth lifting the child Walter Musgrove off Anne.

The frontispiece to volume 2 (this volume) shows Captain Wentworth pointing at the letter he had left for Anne on the desk, with the caption: ‘Il s’approcha de la table, montra la lettre à Alice, et sortit sans dire un mot’ – for some reason, Anne Elliot’s name is changed to Alice in this translation.

This translation is listed as C11 in David Gilson’s Bibliography of Jane Austen (C11). He notes that it incorporates ‘a moderately faithful rendering of Henry Austen’s ‘Biographical notice’ … with a few omissions and some comical errors’.

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