First American edition: Mansfield Park
Object name: Mansfield Park, 2 vols., first American edition, 1832.
Object number: CHWJA:JAHB14.2.1-2
Description: First American edition of Mansfield Park, printed by Carey & Lea, Philadelphia, 1832. In two volumes, with original brown boards, with brown cloth spines. Handwritten on the cover of the first volume are the words ‘Mansfield Park Jane Austen I’, on the second: ‘M Park Jane Austen II’.
Context: This lacklustre copy of Mansfield Park may not look like much (it survives in original drab boards, was printed on thin, poor-quality paper, and is stained and weathered by nearly two centuries of wear), but it is nonetheless a very important and valuable copy. This particular edition, printed by the firm of Carey & Lea in Philadelphia in 1832, is not only noteworthy for being the first-ever American reprinting of Mansfield Park, it also predates the reprinting of Austen in her own country. Austen’s slumbering reputation after her death in 1817 was thought to be single-handedly revived by publisher Richard Bentley, when he included her works in his Standard Novels series in 1833. This rare survivor of an earlier American edition challenges the dominant narrative of Austen’s early climb to fame.
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