Life Writing

  • The Life of Mr Richard Savage

    The Life of Mr Richard Savage was the first important book by a then-unknown Grub Street hack, Samuel Johnson. Richard Savage (1697—1743) was a poet,…

  • Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African

    A contemporary critic described Ignatius Sancho as “what is very uncommon for men of his complexion, A man of letters.” A London shopkeeper, former butler,…

  • Domestic Manners of the Americans

    Frances Trollope’s Domestic Manners of the Americans, complemented by Auguste Hervieu’s satiric illustrations, took the transatlantic world by storm in 1832. An unusual combination of…

  • Letters Written during a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark

    “The art of travelling is only a branch of the art of thinking,” Mary Wollstonecraft wrote in one of her many reviews of works of…

  • Secret Commissions

    Lurid, controversial, and vulnerable to accusations of titillation or rabble-rousing, the works of Victorian investigative journalism collected here nonetheless brought unseen suffering into the light…

  • Autobiographical Sketches

    Annie Wood Besant (1847-1933) was a problematic and notorious figure in Victorian England, questioning and then breaking from the Anglican Church to become an atheist,…

  • Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

    Confessions of an English Opium-Eater remains its author’s most famous and frequently-read work and one of the period’s central statements about both the power and…

  • The Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb Khan

    In 1810, the orientalist scholar Charles Stewart translated and published an extraordinary travel narrative written by a Persian-speaking Indian poet and scholar named Mirza Abu…

  • Prisons and Prisoners

    Prisons and Prisoners is the autobiography of aristocratic suffragette Constance Lytton. In it, she details her militant actions in the struggle to gain the vote…

  • Nightwalkers

    This anthology makes available for the first time a selection of narratives by and about prostitutes in the eighteenth century. These memoirs, some written by…

  • Factory Lives

    Factory Lives contains four works of great importance in the field of nineteenth-century working-class autobiography: John Brown’s A Memoir of Robert Blincoe; William Dodd’s A…

  • Autobiography

    Harriet Martineau lived an extraordinary literary life. She became a reviewer and journalist in the 1820s when her family’s fortune collapsed; published a best-selling series,…

  • The Memoir of 1603 and the Diary of 1616-1619

    Anne Clifford’s memoir for the year 1603 and her diary of 1616-1619 are invaluable records of the daily life and social and family relationships of…

  • The Autobiography of Ashley Bowen (1728-1813)

    The first American sailor known to write his own autobiography, Ashley Bowen remains a valuable storyteller who can speak to today’s readers about the maritime…

  • The Idea of Being Free

    Mary Hays (1759-1843) is often best remembered for her early revolutionary novels The Memoirs of Emma Courtney and The Victim of Prejudice. In this collection,…

  • A Known Scribbler

    Frances Burney’s journals and letters, composed between 1768 and 1839, contain a unique account of the creative, social, and commercial ambitions and achievements of an…

  • The Autobiography of Margaret Oliphant

    After the death of Margaret Oliphant—the prolific nineteenth-century novelist, biographer, essayist, reviewer, and prominent voice on the “woman question”—two well-intending relatives took the autobiographical manuscripts…

  • Letters Written in France

    Helen Maria Williams was a poet, novelist, and radical thinker deeply immersed in the political struggles of the 1790s. Her Letters Written in France is…

  • The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

    The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Written by Himself was the first work that influenced the nineteenth-century…

  • Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

    William Godwin’s memoir of his wife, Mary Wollstonecraft, marks a transition in Godwin’s philosophical development from extreme rationalism to the recognition of the moral importance…

  • Improved by Cultivation

    This anthology combines some of the finest writing by such well-known writers as Leacock, Moodie, Ernest Thompson Seton and Lucy Maud Montgomery with fascinating pieces…