Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A View from Pemberley

This week marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, perhaps the most beloved novel in the English language. We have two copies of the first edition "By the Author of Sense and Sensibility." One of the fun things to do in Special Collections is surround a favorite novel with contemporary books that give you insights into the world of its original readers. One such book is Humphry Repton's Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (London: T. Bensley for J. Taylor, 1805).

Repton's treatise on English landscapes would have fit right in at Mr. Darcy's Pemberley House library. The lavishly produced book uses flaps to show before and after views of improved landscapes. The pictures give you a sense of what Elizabeth Bennett and her aunt and uncle may have seen as they "found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House."

Come in and behold the grounds that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy may have strolled in their happy dotage by asking for Rare SB471.R427 1805. And don't forget the first edition of Pride and Prejudice: Rare PR4034.P7 1813.

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