Coelebs in Search of a Wife
  • Publication Date: May 24, 2007
  • ISBN: 9781551116747 / 155111674X
  • 456 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Broadview eBooks are available on a variety of platforms. To learn more, please visit our eBook information page.

Note on pricing.

Request Exam Copy

Examination copy policy

Availability: Worldwide

Coelebs in Search of a Wife

  • Publication Date: May 24, 2007
  • ISBN: 9781551116747 / 155111674X
  • 456 pages; 5½" x 8½"

In this, Hannah More’s only novel and an early nineteenth-century best-seller, More gives voice to a wealthy twenty-three-year-old bachelor, who styles himself “Coelebs” (unmarried), but seeks a wife. After the death of his father, Coelebs journeys from the north of England to London, where he encounters a fashionable array of eager mothers and daughters before he visits the Hampshire home of his father’s friend, Mr. Stanley. Lucilla Stanley, Mr. Stanley’s daughter, is both an intellectual and a domestic woman, and Coelebs’ ideal partner. In this intelligent novel about the meeting of two minds, More shows the ways in which a couple becomes truly “matched” as opposed to merely “joined.”

Along with a critical introduction, this Broadview edition includes a wide selection of historical documents, from reviews, imitations, and sequels of Coelebs in Search of a Wife to related contemporary writings on conduct, courtship, and women’s education.


“This is an expert edition of the religious novel of Hannah More that is structured on a long and varied series of beguiling cautionary and exemplary character studies. The cautionary characters, gently satirically treated, are deliciously entertaining; the exemplary characters are also (perhaps) unexpectedly delightful in the balance, humor, good sense, and faith that provide their enviable superiority. There can be no better album of cultivated personages in the first decade of the 19th century.” — Betty Rizzo, City College of New York

Hannah More: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

Cœlebs in Search of a Wife

Appendix A: Contemporary Reviews of Cœlebs in Search of a Wife

  1. The Christian Observer (February 1809)
  2. The London Review (February 1809)
  3. The Monthly Review (February 1809)
  4. The Edinburgh Review (April 1809)
  5. The British Critic (May 1809)

Appendix B: Imitations, Adaptations, and Sequels

  1. From [Medora Gordon Byron], Celia in Search of a Husband (1809)
  2. From Robert Torrens, Cœlibia Choosing a Husband (1809)
  3. From William Mudford, Nubilia in Search of a Husband (1809)
  4. From Cœlebs Married (1814)

Appendix C: Women’s Observations on the Education and Conduct of Women

  1. From Mary Wollstonecraft, Thoughts on the Education of Daughters (1787)
  2. From Catharine Macaulay Graham, Letters on Education (1790))
  3. From Maria Edgeworth, Letters for Literary Ladies (1795)
  4. From Hannah More, Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799)

Appendix D: Contemporary Novels about Courtship and Marriage by Women Writers

  1. From “Prudentia Homespun” [Jane West], The Advantages of Education (1793)
  2. From Amelia Opie, Adeline Mowbray (1804)
  3. From Germaine de Staël, Corinne, or Italy (1807)

Select Bibliography

Patricia Demers is Professor of English at the University of Alberta, specializing in women’s writing and early modern literature.