London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1847. First edition. First edition in three volumes. Bound in contemporary green half-calf over marbled boards. A touch of wear at the spine ends, hinges and joints strong, a few penciled bookseller's notations on the blank side of the end-papers in volume one. Bound without the publisher's catalogue, but with all half-titles and text leaves in each volume. Octavo (pages 181 x 117mm), collating: [iv], 304; [iv], 304; [iv], 311, complete. An excellent set overall, internal contents generally very clean, with only the odd blemish. Bookplates of "Constance" on the front paste-down of each volume. One of just 500 sets of the first edition printed.
“Jane Eyre,” along with “Pride and Prejudice,” is one of the most important works of 19th century British literature by a female author, and one, for that matter, that stands on its own two legs regardless of gender, country or century. The novel follows the emotional and spiritual development of its protagonist, Jane Eyre, a poor orphan who must survive the harsh realities facing a person of her status in the 18th century. The novel is now universally regarded as a masterpiece, landing at number 10 on the BBC’s “Big Read” list from 2003. It has Gothic as well as Romantic elements, but ultimately, it is a work that is quintessentially Victorian. It was the first book to be published by any of the Brontes and introduced to the world a major new literary family.
“Bronte’s novel is widely considered revolutionary since it gives such unprecedented insight into its eponymous main character’s thoughts when the private consciousness was rarely explored in fiction. The exploration of Jane’s thoughts is not the only way in which Bronte was ahead of her time. With her resilient, clever heroine, who defies the conventional ideal of a submissive, brainless beauty, many consider the novel proto-feminist.” (Caroline McCauley, “Bronte’s Feminist Flair in Jane Eyre”) Near Fine (Item #1568)
Out of stock