First edition: Pride and Prejudice

Object name: Pride and Prejudice, First Edition

Object number: CHWJA:JAHB13.2.1-3

Category: Books

Description: First edition of Pride and Prejudice, published in January 1813. A three volume set. Written by Jane Austen and published by T. Egerton. The set is bound in brown leather, with black and maroon banded spine.

Made: 1813

Context: Pride and Prejudice was Jane Austen’s second published novel. She first drafted it in 1796 in Steventon, at which time it was called First Impressions, however she extensively revised her manuscript from 1811-1812 in Chawton, at which time she also gave it the title Pride and PrejudiceFind out more about the publication of Pride and Prejudice.

This first edition of Pride and Prejudice is part of the Godmersham Park set, which belonged to Jane Austen’s brother Edward Knight. Jane mentioned this copy in a letter to Cassandra:

‘I want to tell you that I have got my own darling Child from London; – on Wednesday I received one Copy, send down by Falknor, with three lines from Henry to say that he had given another to Charles and & sent a third by the Coach to Godmersham; just the two Sets which I was least eager for the disposal of.’

Jane to Cassandra, 29 January 1813

 The Godmersham set was inherited by Edward Knight’s son, also Edward, who gave them to his sister Marianne Knight in 1858 – probably for her birthday.

The whole set is bound in brown leather, with black and maroon banded spine. This would not have been the original binding – it is most likely they were rebound as a set in 1858, when they were presented to Marianne.

The original binding would have been paper boards. It was usual for the owner to rebind an edition in their own bindings, possibly to match other books in their library.


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