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Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. Edited by Currer Bell
. London: Smith Elder, 1847. First edition. Three volumes, contemporary or near-contemporary purple calf with tan titling pieces, marbled sides, edges sprinkled red. 7 x 4 3/4 inches (18 x 12 cm); [1] f., 304 pp.; [1] f., 304 pp.; [1] f., 311, [1] pp. Some wear to extremities, but overall a sound and unsophisticated copy, internally quite fresh. Lacking the half-titles, the 32 pp. of publisher's ads, and the notice for the Calcutta Review found in some copies, presumably all discarded at the time of binding. With the small, neat and apparently contemporary book label of Maria E. Hogge in each volume.
Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre profoundly altered the development of the English novel. The gothic aspects of the book, in conjunction with an appealing female heroine, made the work popular with readers from the outset, with four editions printed by 1850. The owner of this copy appears to have lived in Paddington, listing herself in the 1861 census as aged 50 years, and a "landed proprietor." If this identification is correct (and it seems likely that it is, given the specificity of the name), the book label provides an interesting window into the social status of a woman reader of Jane Eyre at (or close to) the time of publication. Ashley I:72; Grolier English 83; David Magee Victoria R.I. 117; Parrish Victorian Lady Novelists, pp. 87-88; Sadleir 346; Smith 2; Wolff 826.

Sold for $22,500
Estimate $10,000-15,000

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