Hard Cover. London: Richard Bentley, 1879. Very Good.
Six volumes. Bound in contemporary three-quarter tan calf over marbled boards, spines decorated in gilt, red labels to spines, marbled endpapers. A very good set with wear and rubbing to the extremities, spine ends lightly chipped, some stains and expert reinforcement to inner hinges, former owner bookplate to front pastedowns; internally, pages clean and bright without the usual foxing. Arranged with the novels in chronological order by publication year, each volume contains each of Jane Austen's novels: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Northanger Abbey (1818) and Persuasion (1818) together in one volume, the latter two of which were published posthumously. Austen is well-known for the social criticism she weaves into her novels, using irony and realism to highlight gender roles in marriage and society. Interestingly, the novels that Austen published within her lifetime referred to her, the author, anonymously, her only identifier being her gender and the other books she had written. It was only upon the publication of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion after her untimely death that a biographical note written by her brother identified Austen as the author of her first four novels, which have since earned their place as some of the cornerstones of British literature.