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Pride and Prejudice, Hotel Taft editionOne 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:

Hotel Taft, "Adjoining the Roxy Theatre," 7th Ave. at 50th St., New York City

“Hotel Taft, ‘Adjoining the Roxy Theatre,’ 7th Ave. at 50th St., New York City”

Swim in Sparkling Natural Salt Water, Bask in Healthful Sun Rays, $1 includes swim, sun, and suits
“Swim in Sparkling Natural Salt Water, Bask in Healthful Sun Rays, $1 includes swim, sun, and suits”