In 1761, Frances Sheridan published her novel The Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph, which became a popular and widely praised example of the sentimental novel. The Conclusion, that novel’s sequel, is set eight years later, after Sidney Bidulph’s marriage and motherhood. Psychologically subtle and emotionally immediate, the novel is told almost entirely in the form of letters. Many of the letters are between the scheming Sophy and Edward Audley, who are trying to trick Sidney’s daughter into marriage with Edward; these letters provide a startlingly realistic portrayal of villainy, anticipating such later works as Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
The historical appendices include documents on the education of young adults in the eighteenth century and contemporary reviews of the novel.
“In her later years, Frances Sheridan turned her pen once again to the characters featured in her successful epistolary novel, Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph (1761). She revisited their painful, instructive stories, spinning them into subsequent generations. This resulted in a posthumously published last work of fiction, Conclusion of the Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph (1767), published here for the first time in more than two centuries in this superb edition by Nicole Garret and Heidi Hutner. Sheridan’s Conclusions continues a gripping story of desire, deceit, piety, influence, and friendship. Like Defoe’s Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe and Richardson’s Pamela’s Conduct in High Life before it, Sheridan’s Conclusion used to be regularly published alongside its famed original text. It, too, deserves to be more widely read. This impressive Broadview text ought to make more readers into advocates for Sheridan’s deserving greater prominence in our literary histories.” — Devoney Looser, Arizona State University
“This exciting new edition finally enables us to read Sheridan’s most impressive and important novels as we should, supplementing Broadview’s fine edition of The Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph with its dark, complex, and thoroughly engaging sequel. Accompanied by an outstanding introduction and enlightening contextual materials, as we have come to expect of all Broadview Editions, this expertly edited volume is essential reading for students and scholars of eighteenth-century fiction and early modern women’s writing.” — Christopher Nagle, Western Michigan University