Broadview Press, Bryn Mawr Bookstore, Hotel Taft, Jane Austen, literature, New York City, Open Letters Monthly, Patricia Meyer Spacks, Pride and Prejudice, Pride and Prejudice 200th anniversary, Robert P. Irvine
One of my favourite copies of Pride and Prejudice is neither scholarly nor beautiful. It’s a bright orange hardcover edition, the cover of which has nothing to do with the novel, but instead advertises the Hotel Taft in New York City. This historic hotel opened in 1925 and was renamed after President Taft in 1931.
At some point in its long history (there’s no date given), the hotel produced an edition of Jane Austen’s most famous novel. My copy was a gift from a friend who was delighted by the idea that the hotel made Pride and Prejudice available to guests either instead of, or in addition to, the Bible. She found this copy in the Bryn Mawr Bookstore in Cambridge, MA.
Do any of you have more information about this unusual edition? If you do, please share in the comments below.
What’s your favourite edition of Pride and Prejudice? When I reread the novel, I usually turn to the 1990 Oxford World’s Classics edition (an old favourite), Robert P. Irvine’s Broadview edition (the one I’ve used most often when teaching the novel), or the beautiful and useful Harvard University Press annotated edition by Patricia Meyer Spacks (which I reviewed for Open Letters Monthly a couple of years ago). I confess I’ve never read the text of the Hotel Taft edition, but if I were ever stuck in a hotel room with nothing to read, I’d certainly be happy if the hotel offered P&P on the bedside table. Please tell me about your favourites.
The advertisements inside the Hotel Taft edition are charming:
David Shapard’s annotated P&P. I love his comments, although purists may object to his giving his comments on character’s actions.
Sarah Emsley said:
What is it you like best about his comments? I haven’t read that edition. I agree with you, I hope the cover for Shapard’s new edition of Northanger Abbey will be better than the one for his edition of Emma. Thanks very much for sharing the link to my post on Austen in Boston.
I like his pithy comments. At one point early in the book, Lydia says something clearly false. Shapard comments that on pg. 3xx Lydia will say something completely opposite. Not good for a first time reader, but for those who have already read it….I believe there is a 2nd edition of his P&P where “Plot Spoilers” are added to such comments, his Emma has the “Plot Spoilers” in bold where needed. Always glad to link to your posts. 🙂
Raquel Sallaberry Brião said:
in English I love my green pale cover with golden arabesques, from the Series of English Idylls. In Portuguese I am between the crazy green brochure (first edition) and the new one, dark green too, with Jane Austen caricature!
PS: May I publish your lovely cover to illustrate a post in my Jane Austen em Português (Brasil) with due credits?
Sarah Emsley said:
Thanks very much for commenting. Which cover are you thinking of?
What are the translations into Portuguese like? I’ve been reading Susannah Fullerton’s discussion of translations in her book Celebrating Pride and Prejudice, and she talks about just how difficult it is to translate Austen’s irony.