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Clarissa – An Abridged Edition

This classic novel tells the story, in letters, of the beautiful and virtuous Clarissa Harlowe’s pursuit by the brilliant, unscrupulous rake Robert Lovelace. The epistolary structure allows Richardson to create layered and fully realized characters, as well as an intriguing uncertainty about the reliability of the various “narrators.” Clarissa emerges as a heroine at once…

The Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph

The Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph was hugely popular in circulating libraries in the years after its publication, and its emotional intensity was often remarked upon; Samuel Johnson wrote to Frances Sheridan, “I know not, Madam! that you have a right, upon moral principles, to make your readers suffer so much.” Sheridan traces Sidney Bidulph’s…

Barford Abbey

The great-grandmother of Downton Abbey, Barford Abbey is among the first of a new genre of “abbey fictions.” Using the abbey as both a site and a question mark, Susannah Minifie Gunning weaves a story of new and broken relationships, of change and fear of change, and of heredity and inheritance. The abbey becomes not…

Restoration and 18th-Century Literature

RESTORATION AND 18TH-CENTURY LITERATURE Paper Bodies: A Margaret Cavendish Reader (1660s) Bell in Campo and The Sociable Companions (1662) Margaret Cavendish Sociable Letters (1664) Margaret Cavendish The Description of a New World, Called the Blazing World (1666) Margaret Cavendish Grounds of Natural Philosophy (1668) Margaret Cavendish The Rover, second edition (1677) Aphra Behn Oroonoko (1688)…

Joseph Andrews

Joseph Andrews, first published in 1742, is in part a parody of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela. But whereas Richardson’s novel is marked by the virtues of female chastity and the triumph of steadfast morality, Fielding’s Joseph Andrews is peopled with lascivious women, thieves, hypocrites, and general fools. As we follow the characters in their travels, what…

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, however, Gina Luria Walker reveals the extraordinary range of Hays’s oeuvre. The selections are mainly from Hays’s non-fiction writings, including letters, life-writing, political commentary, and essays. The extracts demonstrate her…

Evelina

The reputation of Frances Burney (1752-1840) was largely established with her first novel, Evelina. Published anonymously in 1778, it is an epistolary account of a sheltered young woman’s entrance into society and her experience of family. Its comedy ranges from the violent practical joking reminiscent of Smollett’s fiction to witty repartee that influenced Austen. The…

Anti-Pamela and Shamela

Published together for the first time, Eliza Haywood’s Anti-Pamela and Henry Fielding’s An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews are the two most important responses to Samuel Richardson’s novel Pamela. Anti-Pamela comments on Richardson’s representations of work, virtue, and gender, while also questioning the generic expectations of the novel that Pamela establishes, and…

The History of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Anderson

In 1754 the British adventurer, compiler, and novelist Edward Kimber published The History of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Anderson. Rooted in a tale Kimber heard while exploring the Atlantic seaboard, Mr. Anderson is the novelist’s transatlantic tale of slavery, Indian relations, and frontier life. Having been kidnapped in England, transported across the Middle…

The Monk

The Monk is the most sensational of Gothic novels. The main plot concerns Ambrosio, an abbot of irreproachable holiness, who is seduced by a woman (or perhaps a demon) disguised as a novice, and who goes on to sell his soul to the Devil. An extravagant blend of sex, death, politics, Satanism, and poetry, the…

The Manor House of De Villerai

Rosanna Mullins Leprohon’s The Manor House of De Villerai, A Tale of Canada Under the French Dominion is a literary milestone—it is the first Canadian historical novel, in English or French, to rewrite the conquest of the French Canadians from the perspective of history’s vanquished. Its revisionary account of the fall of New France is…

Caleb Williams

William Godwin was one of the most popular novelists of the Romantic era; P.B. Shelley praised him, Byron drew heavily on his narrative style, and Mary Shelley, Godwin’s daughter, dedicated Frankenstein to him. Caleb Williams is the riveting account of a young man whose curiosity leads him to pry into a murder from the past.…

Conclusion of the Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph

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…

The History of Ophelia

In the mid-eighteenth century, Sarah Fielding (1710-68) was the second most popular English woman novelist, rivaled only by Eliza Haywood. The History of Ophelia, the last of her seven novels, is an often comic epistolary fiction, narrated by the heroine to an unnamed female correspondent in the form of a single protracted letter. This Broadview…

Anna Letitia Barbauld: Selected Poetry and Prose

At her death in 1825, Anna Letitia Barbauld was considered one of the great writers of her time. Distinguished as a poet and essayist, she was also in innovator in children’s literature, an eloquent supporter of liberal politics, and a literary critic of stature. This edition includes a generous selection of her poetry and the…

Emma

Jane Austen’s Emma (1816) tells the story of the coming of age of Emma Woodhouse, “handsome, clever, and rich,” who “had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.” Typical for the novel’s time, Emma’s transition to womanhood is accomplished through courtship—both of those around her and, ultimately,…