Jane Austen’s novels may epitomize Regency England, but she didn’t think much of the man for whom the period was named.
Like many of her compatriots, Austen loathed the Prince Regent, once railing in an 1813 letter against the man whose gluttony, profligacy and infidelities scandalized the nation. In 1815, when she was strong-armed into dedicating her fourth novel, “Emma,” to the future George IV, she produced a tribute so strained that a scholar called it “one of the worst sentences she ever committed to print.”
But now, in a delicious irony that Austen herself might have appreciated, it turns out that the man who was counted among her most reviled readers might also have been one of her very first.
This month a graduate student working in the Royal Archives in Windsor Castle came across a previously unknown 1811 bill of sale from a London bookseller, charging the Prince Regent 15 shillings for a copy of “Sense and Sensibility,” Austen’s first novel. Oddly, the transaction took place two days before the book’s first public advertisement — making it what scholars believe to be the first documented sale of an Austen book. ... [mehr] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/24/books/jane-austen-prince-regent.html