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The novel needs no introduction. But readers may not have realised that we have been losing “Pride and Prejudice” over the years, particularly digitally. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation have eroded significantly from the 1813 Egerton first edition, and many digital copies suffer from poor formatting.
In 2017, the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, her “darling Child” has been painstakingly restored to the three-volume 1813 first edition. Adjustments have only been made where there were errors in the 1813 text, and are noted in detailed annotations at the end of the novel.
Please enjoy this beloved story, restored to Jane Austen’s original voice.
As a tribute to Miss Jane Austen’s beloved story, Pride & Prejudice, Sophie Turner has embarked on a project to restore Austen’s novel into an e-book version that replicates Austen’s original publication as closely as possible. In 1813, Thomas Egerton made the brilliant decision to publish this novel, thus publishing one of the finest pieces of literature in the English language. (He was also the publisher of Sense & Sensibility & Mansfield Park.) But over the years, digital and print editions of Pride & Prejudice have lost more and more of Austen’s true voice. I am thrilled to know that this project to restore her work began from a group read that I hosted here on Just Jane 1813 titled We Still Need Her, where I posted supporting materials such as songs, questions, and research articles to help deepen our understanding of this novel and to allow my readers to share detailed feedback about each chapter in the book. I also had several guest authors host chapters too.
After seeing some of the discrepancies between the Gutenberg edition that I was using to post each chapter and the original 1813 Egerton edition, Sophie realized that there was a need for an eBook edition of Pride & Prejudice that would resemble as close as possible Austen’s original story published by Egerton. Miss Turner set to work to create a digitally correct eBook through careful rereading and line by line edits of Austen’s text.
Miss Turner has done a wonderful job creating an eBook that is also a resource for readers who want to learn more about the time period which Jane Austen’s novels take place in by including informational sections devoted to the following topics: Entails, debt, housekeeping & economy, dining, etiquette & propriety, professions for genteel women, servants, livings in the church, marriage, and carriages & travel. I found this brief, yet valuable information about each topic easy to assimilate within the events and characters of Pride & Prejudice. I also learned some things that were new for me too and I think most readers will enjoy these sections of her edition.
Miss Turner’s edition also provides a brief overview that discusses notes on Austen’s grammar usage. When a reader spends time enjoying this edition, it’s important to remember that “Austen wrote in a time when spelling and grammar were just coming to be standardized.” Grammar was also still undergoing standardization. “Noah Webster had published an improved grammar of the English language in 1807, but he himself described it as “but little used.” (Pride and Prejudice: A Novel. In Three Volumes, Annotated and Restored to 1813 Egerton First Edition)
Miss Turner also discusses Austen’s various uses of the comma, her widely employed mdashes, her uses of possessives and the variations in the spellings and capitalizations of her characters’ names, such as Mrs. Philips and Lady Lucas. It’s amazing how much has changed in our usage of the English language over the past two hundred years and since the only draft remaining of the six novels published by Austen are a few chapters from Persuasion, it’s nearly impossible to know for certain why she made these types of decisions regarding her usage of certain kinds of grammar and spelling. However, as one reads this edition, it’s crucial for the reader to realize that:
Ultimately, short of a literary holy grail— Austen’s final, handwritten draft of the novel— turning up in an old trunk somewhere, we will never know what her true intent was, in these inconsistencies and items that could have been done with intent, or could have been a mistake. One of the things that I realised in doing this edition was that publisher Thomas Egerton was not the only potential middleman, between Austen and readers of that first edition. The volumes were split between printers— Charles Roworth printed the first volume that I generally used, and George Sidney the second and third—and there were decided differences in the way things were handled by the two printers, particularly as it came to formatting letters, but even in the way that the type was set (for in that time, it would have been manually done). It is difficult, therefore, when something appears a little off, to determine whether it was the publisher, printer, or truly the author handling it differently than we might do today. I have made my best guesses, therefore, and documented both things that I did change, and things that I might have changed, but did not, within the annotations following this section.
As I read through notes such as these, I kept thinking to myself how wonderful it is to have all of this pertinent information in one accessible digital format for Janeites, future Janeites, and anyone else who picks up an e-reader device to enjoy Pride & Prejudice. From the very beginning of this edition, Miss Turner describes the process of creating this edition and demonstrates for the reader the impetus that compelled her to embark on this ambitious project.
Sophie’s annotations do not include historical insights or information about other characters and places in the story like other annotated versions, and there are no illustrations or graphics included within the body of the text. Unlike annotated versions that have footnotes and/or annotations near the text being referenced, all of Sophie’s notes and annotations are in separate sections in the back of this book and describe the decisions she made when revising the spelling and/or grammar in Austen’s story; therefore, readers also can enjoy this novel as many readers did during Austen’s time, as a group read-aloud, knowing that the punctuation used by Austen also aids in the story’s overall fluency and reading enjoyment! While the overall goal of this project was to restore the story to its original edition, it’s extra nice to have the information about the historical context, Austen’s usage of grammar and all of the revisions Sophie made included in the text to enhance our reading pleasure.
High praise indeed for Sophie Turner for not only giving us back this edition in a digital format but also for making it available for a very reasonable price!
Meet Sophie Turner
Sophie Turner worked as an online editor before delving even more fully into the tech world. Writing, researching the Regency era, and occasionally dreaming about living in Britain are her escapes from her day job.
She was afraid of a long series until she ventured upon Patrick O’Brian’s 20-book Aubrey-Maturin masterpiece, something she might have repeated five times through.
Alas, her Constant Love series is only planned to be seven books right now, and consists of A Constant Love, A Change of Legacies, and the in-progress A Season Lost.
She blogs about her writing endeavours at sophie-turner-acl.blogspot.com, where readers can find direction for the various social drawing-rooms across the Internet where she may be called upon.
Connect with Sophie Turner
It’s Giveaway Time!
I have a giveaway of this eBook for one Just Jane 1813 reader. To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this post by midnight, ET, on August 10th. The winner will be announced on this blog on August 11, 2017.
I’d like to thank Sophie Turner for her meticulous work and care in restoring Austen’s “darling child” for readers!
July 27 / My Vices and Weaknesses/ Guest Post & Giveaway
July 28 / Austenesque Reviews/Book Excerpt & Giveaway
July 29 / My Love for Jane Austen/ Guest Post & Giveaway
August 3 /Just Jane 1813 / Book Review & Giveaway
August 4 / My Jane Austen Book Club/ Guest Post & Giveaway
September 4 / Diary of an Eccentric/ Guest Post & Giveaway
September 5 / Laughing with Lizzie / Book Excerpt & Giveaway
September 6 / Savvy Verse & Wit / Book Review & Giveaway
September 12 / Margie’s Must Reads /Book Review & Giveaway
September 14 / More Agreeably Engaged /Guest Post & Giveaway
September 15 / Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Excerpt & Giveaway
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