TLDR: We are publishing Jane Austen's masterpiece, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, in a way which brings the novel back to its roots. We use printing and bookbinding techniques from Austen's time, and a design which would have fit right into Austen's world.
Jane Austen has long been regarded as one of the greatest writers in literary history. American literary critic, Edmund Wilson, claimed, "Only two reputations have never been affected by the shifts of fashion: Shakespeare's and Jane Austen's."
Austen’s novels in general, and Pride and Prejudice in particular, have not just endured as literary classics. They have in fact risen in popularity over the centuries, a testament to Austen’s genius at deftly weaving superb literary skill and sly comedy in a critique of social values.
In 1913, one hundred years after the novel’s publication, British writer and commentator, John Walsh said, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that Pride and Prejudice is the nation's favourite novel.” Today, more than two hundred years after its publication, it is considered one of the most loved books in the world.
It is with great excitement and pride, therefore, that we announce that Thornwillow Press is publishing a very special edition of this beloved classic that Austen herself described as her “own darling child.”
Allow us to introduce you to PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, a letterpress printed and hand-bound book . . .
The endurance of Pride and Prejudice’s popularity is testament to the fact that Austen’s characters and what they live through are part and parcel of the human condition. Cultural norms and expectations have changed, but women are still chafing at a lack of independence, and people are still beset with the same worries and joys. Pride and prejudice, vanity, unrequited or real love, the arrogance of youth and money, foibles and flaws, remarkable strength and courage, erroneous first impressions—it’s the stuff of good storytelling, and the fiber of what it means to be human.
Of the thousands of versions of Pride and Prejudice out in the world today, this exquisitely crafted, collectible Thornwillow edition is the one that Austen herself would have admired and had on her bookshelf. Who are we to argue with her excellent taste?
This edition is made exactly as a book would have been made in Austen's time. Allow us, then, to take you into the world of Elizabeth Bennet . . .
Why this edition of P&P?
At Thornwillow Press we believe books are a pleasure for the soul and the senses, and have no doubt Jane Austen would have agreed wholeheartedly. “When I have a house of my own,” says Miss Bingley in Pride and Prejudice, “I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
We’re excited to return this beautiful classic to a format with which Austen would have been familiar, and also to bring something entirely unique to this project. We believe a novel of this caliber deserves the best. Therefore, we are making an edition that would have fit in perfectly on Austen’s own bookshelf, using the same time-tested craftsmanship, techniques and style of the Georgian period. We have chosen historically accurate greens for the leather and cloth bindings on this letterpress, hand-bound edition, and we are also using a high end laid paper: the predominant paper used in the pre-mechanical era of printing. Most fitting, we are using a replica of the wallpaper in Austen’s home for the boards.
It's all part of mission at Thornwillow—to promote fine craft and fine ideas for all. When you subscribe for a Thornwillow book, you can always expect:
- Letterpress printing; you can feel the impression of the type on the page.
- Top-quality paper stock. For Pride and Prejudice, we are using era-accurate laid paper.
- Hand-bindings; our book are bound by our master binders in our own bindery.
- Excellent typography; while most trade books try to minimize page count (and thus cost) by cramming the maximum number of words per page, our's our typeset for readability, with handsome margins and historically appropriate typefaces.
- Each book comes with a subscribers list, honoring all those who subscribed to the edition.
- Each book in the edition is numbered (you can request a number you'd specifically like) and leather copies are signed by the Publisher and sketchbook artist.
The letters and Elizabeth Bennet's sketchbook.
But there’s more! To pay true homage to this timeless author, as well as the age-old craft of letterpress printing, we are also adding two most special additions to Thornwillow’s Pride and Prejudice.
- Every significant letter exchanged by the characters in the novel will be reproduced on archival paper and bound into the book so that readers can enjoy the culture of Georgian letter writing, just as the characters do.
- Drawings from “Elizabeth Bennet’s sketchbook” will be also bound into the book, including sketches of Pemberley, Longbourn and Netherfield, as well as scenes from the novel, giving readers an unprecedented, authentic view into the Bennet’s world. These are made by artist and architect John Claflin, an expert in the period, which means that the reader will get a genuine look into life in 1813.
- These artifacts will be printed letterpress on jute paper stock, and bound directly into the book. (See the examples below!)
We are offering PRIDE AND PREJUDICE in several magnificent bindings . . .
PAPER-WRAPPER | Starting at $85. Edition limited to one hundred more than subscribed.
HALF-CLOTH | Starting at $185. Edition limited to one hundred more than subscribed.
HALF-LEATHER | $1,500 | Early bird starting at $585. Includes a clamshell presentation box. Edition limited to only 100 copies.
FACSIMILE HALF-CALF | $1,500. A facsimile of the first edition of P&P. Includes a clamshell presentation box. Only 9 copies available through Kickstarter.
FACSIMILE FULL-CALF | $2,500. A facsimile of the first edition of P&P. Includes a clamshell presentation box. Only 3 copies available through Kickstarter.
ONE-OF-A-KIND FULL-LEATHER | Starting at $4,000. Three one-of-a-kind copies are bound in full-leather. Each is set with a coin from Austen's life: 1775 (the year of her birth), 1817 (the year of her death), 1813 (the year of Pride and Prejudice's publication). Each coin features a portrait of King George III, who reigned during the entirety of her life and work.
In addition, each of these full-leather copies will feature: hand-coloring and staining of the sketchbook pages, pressed English roses from the Thornwillow garden, and other small details which make the books feel as if they've come right off Austen's own shelf.
Risks and challenges
Having conducted twenty projects in the past, each of which has been delivered on time, we are confident in our ability to successfully manage any unexpected challenges. That said, we will always communicate them to our backers if they do arise.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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