G. Routledge and Co. London. 1857.
First printing of the Railway Library edition. 8vo. (6.6 x 4.3 inches). Finely bound, without half title, in contemporary half dark red calf, raised bands. Compartments ruled and decorated in gilt. Marbled paper on boards. Marbled endpapers. Some rubbing to the spine hinges and board edges but overall this is still an attractive, good quality, early binding. Routledge issued all six of Austen's novels, in five books (Northanger Abbey and Persuasion together as usual) in their Railway Library series, starting with Sense and Sensibilty and Pride and prejudice in 1852 but waiting five years before issuing the other three books. Austen's works are notoriously difficult to find in any early bindings, whether publishers cloth (or in the case of this volume, coloured paper boards) or, like this volume, bound at the time in leather. Most copies were literally read to bits, resulting in the books needing to be rebound at a later date. ---- Keynes. Jane Austen. A Bibliography. No 108.