London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1849. [Social and Political Novel] FIRST EDITION. Complete in three volumes. Octavo (19 x 13cm), pp. iv; 303 ; pp. iv; 308 ; pp. iv; 320 . Bound without half-titles, but including advertisements to rear of volume III. Recently bound in brown speckled half calf, with raised bands, gilt titles to contrasting red and green labels to spines, and marbled paper over boards. All edges speckled red. Moderate toning throughout, with heavy spotting and some thumbing to preliminaries of volume I. Occasional light spotting to other volumes. Numerous creases where corners have been turned over in volume I (shocking), and some occasional light pencil notes, including a gift inscription to title page of volume I. Presented in an attractive new leather binding. Very good. A more mature and larger novel by Charlotte Brontë, but still incorporating a complex student/teacher relationship - an autobiographical element which links all her novels, and seems to have dominated her life. Charlotte's great friend and biographer Elizabeth Gaskell may have used some of the themes and characters from 'Shirely' to produce her own great work 'North and South' (1854), which excels its predecessor in every element except the minute precision of emotional description which only Charlotte could achieve. One thing Charlotte adds here which Gaskell does not discuss much, however, is the role of women in society, including their political and legal status, as well as their rights to seek employment and personal fulfilment independent of male guardians. An important nineteenth-century Feminist novel which deserves a wider appreciation. Item #59374
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