Northanger Abbey [2 volumes bound in 1]

Carey & Lea, 1833. First Edition. Leather Binding. Used - Very Good. Item #623720

A delightful copy with great provenance of the first American edition of this Jane Austen classic. This copy is from the library of Cordelia Darrach, one of the great early 'fangirls' of the American literary public, with her signature on the title page of each volume ('Mrs. Cordelia Darrach'). A very good copy in mid-19th century brown morocco over marbled boards, spine with raised bands, gilt titling, and twin gilt rules at foot (light wear; text has some browning and foxing). Very lightly inscribed in pencil on front free endpaper: 'For Mrs [Nelson?] to while away yr leisure hours.' One of only 1250 copies issued of the first American edition, published just as Richard Bentley was re-issuing Austen's work in the UK. Gilson B5. No further American edition was issued until 1838. Darrach's passionate letters to authors and friends about how books impacted her life and spirit have become part of the critical literature of the period. See Darrach's letters quoted and discussed in Williams, 'Widening the World: Susan Warner, Her Readers, and the Assumption of Authorship', (1990), and Zboray, 'Real Readers and Their Responses in Antebellum Boston ' (1997). Cordelia Elizabeth Darrach, nee Richards (1818-1870), lived mainly in Gloucester County, New Jersey, and is buried in Bala Cynwyd, PA. Married at 15 or 16, Darrach became a passionate reader at a young age: 'after finishing Maria Susanna Cummins's Mabel Vaughan in 1858, Cordelia E. Darrach expressed to Caroline A. (Briggs) Mason the painful memories invoked by this realistic novel: 'The heartlessness of fashionable society is well depicted, for I have had some experience of it in my younger days, and I never liked it, never could bear it.' And there were psychological challenges as well: '...Darrach, suffering with a painful 'neuralgia' during one particularly rainy New England spring in 1858, observed: 'I could not settle myself to any other occupation than reading.' She continued to confide to her friend that it is 'a blessing ... to be fond of reading, and to have access to books, particularly such as soothe and elevate the mind.' (Zboray, page 152; 161).

Price: $17,500.00

See all items in Rare Fiction
See all items by