Charlotte Smith’s ‘Manon L’Escaut’ Now at the Chawton House Library

Our happy Band of Sheep Finders went off track recently with helping in the acquisition of a rare copy of Charlotte Smith’s Manon L’Escaut – not a Lost Sheep from the Godmersham Park Library, but an important work not in the Chawton House library for early women writers – and it should be. So our generous group of donors stepped up and contributed to bringing it to Chawton – here is curator Emma Yandle’s post from the CH website, and with hearty thanks to all those GLOSSians who helped put it on the shelves next to Smith’s other works.

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Chawton House has acquired a rare copy of Charlotte Smith’s (1749-1806) first novel, 
Manon L’Escaut: or, The Fatal Attachment

We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Manon L’Escaut: or, The Fatal Attachment. A French Story (London: Printed for T. Cadell in the Strand, 1786) for our historic books and manuscript collection.

This first – and only – edition of Charlotte Smith’s debut novel is exceptionally rare, with only two other copies listed in private collections in the UK. Following the success of her Elegiac Sonnets in 1784, Smith began her successful career as a novelist with Manon L’Escaut appearing at the end of the 1785 (the title-page listing the following year, as was customary).

Ostensibly a translation of Abbé Prévost’s 1731 novel of the same name, it was conceived by Smith for ‘some English friends who did not read the French’, leading her to ‘translate the whole; or’ – as she pointedly notes – ‘rather to write it anew in English.’[1]  Her wording is important for she substantially adapts the original story, changing the characterisations of the criminal Manon, and the hero, the Chevalier des Grieux, in an act of creative translation that rewards further study.[2]  It is by far her rarest work, likely due to charges of plagiarism levied by critic George Steevens, which had a terrible impact on sales. Smith declared that she would rather ‘withdraw the book than let Cadell [the publisher] suffer.’[3]

Smith is one of the most important woman writers of the Romantic period, who made substantial contributions to poetry and to the Gothic. Manon L’Escaut is an important work within Smith’s oeuvre, as the transition between her poetry and novel writing.

With this acquisition, Chawton House’s collection contains the complete set of Charlotte Smith’s novels in their first editions. We are grateful for the support of GLOSS (The Godmersham Lost Sheep Society) and individual donors to aid in this purchase.—

[1] ‘Translator’s Preface’ to the above work.
[2] See Terry Hale, ‘Translation in Distress: Cultural Misappropriation and the Construction of the Gothic’, in European Gothic: A Spirited Exchange 1760-1960, ed. By Avril Horner. (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002), pp.17-38.
[3] Catherine Dorset, ‘Charlotte Smith” in Walter Scott, Miscellaneous Prose Works, 6 vols (Edinburgh: Cadell, 1827), vol. iv, p.46

[Images from the catalogue of Stuart Bennett Rare Books, used with permission.] ]

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You can read about Charlotte Smith [Husband a gambler! 12 children! Debtor’s prison! Lawsuits!] in this Chawton House biography by Ruth Facer: https://chawtonhouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Charlotte-Smith.pdf

A Bibliography of Smith’s works: [see the CH library catalogue for what they have in the collection]

  1.  Elegaic Sonnets and other Essays (London: J. Dodsley, 1784)
  2.  Manon Lascaut, or, The Fatal Attachment (trans.) from Abbé Prevost (London: T. Cadell, 1785) (later withdrawn)
  3.  The Romance of Real Life, a translation of selected tales from Gayot de  Pitaval’s Les Causes Celebres. 3 vols. (London: T. Cadell, 1787)
  4.  Emmeline, the Orphan of the Castle. 4 vols. (London: T. Cadell, 1788)
  5.  Ethelinde, or the Recluse of the Lake. 5 vols. (London: T. Cadell, 1789)
  6.  Celestina: A Novel. 4 vols. (London: T. Cadell, 1791)
  7.  Desmond: A Novel. 3 vols. (London: G.G.J. and J. Robinson, 1792)
  8.  The Emigrants, a poem, in two books (London: T. Cadell, 1793)
  9. The Old Manor House: A Novel. 4 vols. (London: J. Bell, 1793)
  10. The Wanderings of Warwick, a sequel to The Old Manor House (London: J. Bell, 1794)
  11. The Banished Man: A Novel. 4 vols. (London: T. Cadell junior and W. Davies, 1794)
  12. Rural Walks: In Dialogues: Intended for the Use of Young Persons. 2 vols. (London: Cadell and Davies, 1795)
  13. Montalbert: A Novel. 3 vols. (London: Sampson Low, 1795)
  14. Rambles Farther: A Continuation of Rural Walks: In Dialogues Intended for the Use of Young Persons. 2 vols. (London: Cadell and Davies, 1796)
  15. Marchmont: a Novel. 4 vols. (London: Sampson Low, 1796)
  16. A Narrative of the loss of the Catharine, Venus and Piedmont Transports, and the Thomas, Golden Grove and Aeolus Merchant-ships near Weymouth, on Wednesday the 18th November last. Drawn up from information taken on the spot by Charlotte Smith, and published for the Benefit of an unfortunate Survivor from one of the Wrecks, and her infant child (London: Sampson Low, 1796)
  17. Elegiac sonnets, and other poems. Vol.II. (London: T. Cadell, junior, and W. Davies, 1797)
  18. Minor morals, interspersed with sketches of natural history, historical anecdotes, and original stories. 2 vols. (London: Sampson Low, 1798)
  19. The Young Philosopher: a Novel. 4 vols. (London: Cadell and Davies, 1798)
  20. What is she? A comedy, in five acts, as performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. (London: Longman and Rees, 1799)
  21. The Letters of a Solitary Wanderer: containing narratives of various description. Volumes 1-3 (London: Sampson Low, 1800-1)
  22. The Letters of a Solitary Wanderer. Volumes 4-5 (London: Longman and Rees, 1802)
  23. Conversations, Introducing Poetry; chiefly on subjects of natural history, for the use of children and young persons, with an engraved portrait of Charlotte Smith, by J. Conde. 2 vols. (London: J. Johnson, 1804)
  24. A History of England, from the Earliest Records, to the Peace of Amiens in a Series of Letters to a Young Lady at School. 3 vols. Volumes 1 and 2 by Charlotte Smith. (London: Richard Phillips, 1806)
  25. Beachy Head, Fables, and Other Poems (London J. Johnson, 1807)
  26. A Natural History of Birds, intended chiefly for young persons. 2 vols. (London: J. Johnson, 1807)
©2022, Reading with Austen Blog

Reading with Jane Austen ~ Women Writers in the Godmersham Park Library ~ Episode 2!


UPDATE: I have re-posted this list of women writers in the Godmersham  Park Library to include the titles of their works and have noted their current location or if they are LOST SHEEP.

Abbreviations:

  • KC = Knight Collection at Chawton House
  • JAHM =  Jane Austen House Museum
  • LOST SHEEP – please help us find this title!

Of the 45 authors listed with a total of 62 titles, 23 are in the Knight Collection at Chawton House, 29 are LOST SHEEP, 3 works are partially in KC and partially LOST, 2 are in private collections, and the 5 Jane Austen 1st editions are at the Jane Austen’s House Museum.

As mentioned in my previous post on Sarah Scott, it is interesting to search the Godmersham Park Library 1818 catalogue for titles written by women, knowing that Jane Austen would have had access to them. So here is a list of all the women writers and their works,  with hopes to eventually do a post on each (which might actually get done in these times of quarantine…).

It is quite an impressive list – novelists, poets, playwrights, philosophers, historians, essayists, translators, letter-writers! And while many of the works remain in the Knight Collection, there are more that are Lost Sheep, our effort still to locate them. If you might have a copy of any work by any of these women with a Knight bookplate in them, please get in touch with us!

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Austen, Jane (1775-1817) [of course!]

  • Northanger Abbey: and Persuasion. 1st 4 vols. London, 1818. JAHM
  • Sense and Sensibility: A Novel. 1st 3 vols. London, 1818. JAHM
  • Pride and Prejudice: A Novel. 1st 3 vols. London, 1813. JAHM
  • Mansfield Park: A Novel. 1st 3 vols. London, 1814. JAHM
  • Emma: A Novel. 1st 3 vols. London, 1816. JAHM

Baillie, Joanna (1762-1851)

  • A Series of Plays, in which it is attempted to delineate The Stronger Passions of the Mind, each passion being the subject of A Tragedy and a Comedy. 4th 2 vols. London, 1803. LOST SHEEP

Barbauld, Anna Letitia (1743-1825) [as A. Aikin, her maiden name]

  • Miscellaneous pieces, in prose, by J. and A. L. Aikin. 2nd 1 vol. London, 1775. LOST SHEEP

Bowdler, Jane (1743-1784)

  • Poems and essays, by A Lady Lately Deceased. 2 vols. Bath, 1786. KC

[Jane Bowdler] Poems and Essays by A Lady Lately Deceased. Bath, 1786.

Brooke, Frances (1724-1789)

  • The History of Lady Julia Mandeville. By the translator of Lady Catesby’s letters. 2nd 2 vols. London, 1763. LOST SHEEP

Brunton, Mary (1778-1818)

  • Self-control: a novel. 3rd 3 vols. Edinburgh, 1811. KC

Burney, Frances (1752-1840)

  • The Wanderer; or, Female Difficulties. By the author of Evelina; Cecilia; and Camilla. 5 vols. London, 1814. KC (vol 2-4 only)

Campan, Jeanne Louise Henriette Genest (1752-1822)

  • Memoirs of the private life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Navarre. To which are added, recollections, sketches, and anecdotes, illustrative of the reigns of Louis XIV. Louis XV. And Louis XVI. By Madame Campan, First Lady of the bed-chamber to the Queen. 3rd 2 vols. London, 1824. KC

Carter, Elizabeth (1717-1806)

  • Poems on Several Occasions. 1 vol. London, 1762. LOST SHEEP
  • All the Works of Epictetus, Which are now Extant; consisting of His Discourses, preserved by Arrian, In Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments. Translated from the Original Greek, By Elizabeth Carter. With An Introduction, and Notes, by the Translator. 1 vol. London, 1758. KC (2 copies)

Chapone, Hester (1727-1801)

  • Letters on the Improvement of the mind, addressed to a young lady. 1st 2 vols. London, 1773. KC

Cornwallis, Mary (1758-1836)

  • Observations, Critical, Explanatory, and Practical, on the Canonical Scriptures. By Mrs. Cornwallis, of Wittersham, Kent. 4 vols. London, 1817. LOST SHEEP

Craven, Elizabeth Craven, Baroness (1750-1828)

  • A Journey through The Crimea to Constantinople. In A Series of Letters from the Right Honourable Elizabeth Lady Craven, To His Serene Highness The Margrave of Brandebourg, Anspach, and Bareith. Written in the Year M DCC LXXXVI. 1st 1 vol. London, 1789. LOST SHEEP

Dixon, Sarah (1671/2-1765)

  • Poems on Several Occasions. 1st 1 vol. Canterbury, 1740. LOST SHEEP

Dobson, Susannah (d. 1795) [as translator]

  • The Life of Petrarch. Collected from Memoires pour la Vie de Petrarch. Jacques-François-Paul-Aldonce de Sade (1705-1778); translated by Mrs. [Susannah] Dobson. 4th 2 vols. Embellished with eight copper-plates, designed by Kirk, and engraved by Ridley. London, 1799. KC

Edgeworth, Maria (1768-1849)

  • Patronage by Maria Edgeworth. 4 vols. 2nd London, 1814. KC
  • Tales of Fashionable Life, by Miss Edgeworth. 1st 6 vols. London, 1809-12. KC
  • Harrington, a tale; and Ormond, a tale. 2 vols. London, 1817. LOST SHEEP

Elie de Beaumont, Anne-Louise Morin-Dumesnil (1729-1783)

  • Lettres Du Marquis de Roselle. Par Madame E. D. B. Nouvelle Edition. 2 vols. London, 1764. KC

Elwood, Anne Katharine (1796-1873)

  • Narrative of a Journey Overland from England by the Continent of Europe, Egypt, and the Red Sea, to India; including a residence there, and voyage home, in the years 1825, 26, 27, and 28. By Mrs. Colonel Elwood. In two volumes. 1 vol ed? London, 1830. LOST SHEEP

Fielding, Sarah (1710-1768) [as translator]

  • Xenophon’s Memoirs of Socrates. With the Defence of Socrates, before His Judges. Translated from The Originial [sic] Greek. By Sarah Fielding. 1st 1 vol. Bath, 1762. KC

Gardiner, Jane (1758-1840)

  • An excursion from London to Dover: containing some account of the Manufactures, Natural and Artificial Curiosities, History and Antiquities of the Towns and Villages. Interspersed with Historical and Biographical Anecdotes, Natural History, Poetical Extracts, and Tales. Particularly intended for the amusement and instruction of youth. By Jane Gardiner, Elsham Hall, Lincolnshire. In Two Vols. 1st. ed. 2 vols. London, 1806. KC

Jane Gardiner. An Excursion from London to Dover. London, 1806.

Genlis, Stéphanie Félicité, comtesse de (1746-1830)

  • Adèle et Théodore, ou, Lettres sur l’éducation, Contenant[.] Tous les principes relatifs aux trois différens plans d’éducation des Princes, des jeunes Personnes, & des Hommes. 1st 3 vols. Paris, 1782. KC (vol 3 only), LOST SHEEP (vol 1 and 2)
  • Les Veillées du Château, ou, cours de morale à l’usage des enfans, par l’auteur d’Adèle et Théodore. 1st 3 vols. Paris, 1784. KC

Graffigny, (Françoise d’Issembourg d’Happoncourt), Mme de (1695-1758)

  • Letters written by a Peruvian Princess. A New Edition, in two Volumes. London, 1771. LOST SHEEP
  • The Peruvian letters, Translated from the French. With An additional original Volume. By R. Roberts, translator of Select Tales from Marmontel, author of Sermons by a Lady, and translator of the History of France, from the Abbé Millot. 2 vols. London, 1774. KC
  • Lettres d’une Peruvienne. 1 vol. Paris, n.d. LOST SHEEP

Grant, Anne (1755-1838)

  • Poems on various subjects, by Mrs. Grant. 1st Edinburgh, 1803. LOST SHEEP
  • Letters from the mountains; Being the real correspondence of a lady, between the years 1773 and 1807. 2nd 3 vols. London, 1807. KC

Hays, Mary (1759-1843)

  • Female Biography; or, Memoirs of Illustrious and Celebrated Women, of all ages and countries. Alphabetically arranged. By Mary Hays. 1st 6 vols. London, 1803. In the collections of the Godmersham Park Heritage Centre.

Haywood, Eliza Fowler (1693-1756) – as a contributor

  • A Companion to the theatre: or, a view Of our most celebrated Dramatic Pieces: In which the Plan, Characters, and Incidents of each are particularly explained. Interspers’d With Remarks Historical, Critical and Moral. 2 vols. London, 1747. LOST SHEEP

Lee, Harriet (1757-1851) and Sophia Lee (1750-1824)

  • Canterbury tales. By Harriet Lee [and Sophia Lee]. 5 vols. London, 1804. [The original 5 volumes of this work were published in 1797, 1798, 1799, 1801 and 1805. The 4th edition of vol. 1 was published in 1804; it’s not possible to identify the editions of the rest of volumes in the Godmersham Library copy from the Godmersham catalogue details]. LOST SHEEP

Lee, Sophia (1750-1824) [see under Harriet Lee]

Lennox, Charlotte (ca. 1730-1804) [as translator]

  • Memoirs of Maximilian de Bethune, Duke of Sully, Prime Minister to Henry the Great. Containing The History of the Life and Reign of that Monarch, And his own Administration under Him. By Pierre Mathurin de L’écluse des Loges (ca. 1713-1783). Translated from the French by the Author of The Female Quixote [Charlotte Lennox]. To which is added, The Trial of Ravaillac for the Murder of Henry the Great. 5 vols. London, 1757. KC

Macaulay, Catharine (1731-1791)

  • The history of England from the accession of James I. to that of the Brunswick Line. By Catharine Macaulay. 1st 5 vols. (of 8). London, 1763-83. KC

Catharine Macaulay. • The history of England from the accession of James I. to that of the Brunswick Line. London, 1763-83.

Maintenon, Françoise d’Aubigné, marquise de (1635-1719)

  • Lettres de Madame de Maintenon. Contenant[.] Des Lettres à différentes personnes, celles à M. d’Aubigné, & celles à M. & à Me. de Villette. Nouvelle Edition. 16 vols. Maestricht [Maastricht], 1778. KC

Marlborough, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of (1660-1744)

  • An Account of the Conduct of the Dowager Duchess of Marlborough, From her first coming to Court, To the Year 1710. In a Letter from Herself to my Lord––. 1 vol. London, 1742. LOST SHEEP

Masters, Mary (fl. 1733-1755)

  • Familiar Letters and Poems on Several Occasions. By Mary Masters. 1st 1 vol. London, 1755. LOST SHEEP

Meades, Anna (b. ca. 1734)

  • The history of Sir William Harrington. Written some years since, And revised and corrected By the late Mr. Richardson, author of Sir Charles Grandison, Clarissa, &c. 1st 4 vols. London, 1771. LOST SHEEP

Montagu, Elizabeth Robinson (1718-1800)

  • An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear, compared with the Greek and French Dramatic Poets. With Some Remarks Upon the Misrepresentations of Mons. de Voltaire. 1st 1 vol. London, 1769. LOST SHEEP
  • The letters of Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu, with some of the letters of her correspondents. Part the first, Containing her letters from an early age to the age of twenty-three. Published by M. Montagu, Esq. M.P., her 1st 2 vols. (of 4). London, 1809-13. KC

Montolieu, Isabelle de (1751-1832)

  • Agathoclès, ou Lettres écrites de Rome et de Grèce, au commencement du Quatrième Siècle, Traduites de l’allemand de Mme. Pichler, Par Mme. Isabelle de Montolieu. 1st 4vols. Paris, 1812. LOST SHEEP

More, Hannah (1745-1833)

  • Florio: A Tale, For Fine Gentlemen and Fine Ladies: and, The Bas Bleu; or, Conversation: Two Poems. 1st 1 vol. London, 1786. LOST SHEEP
  • Strictures on the modern system of female education. With a view of the principles and conduct prevalent among women of rank and fortune. By Hannah More. 9th 2 vols. London, 1799. LOST SHEEP
  • Coelebs in search of a wife. Comprehending Observations on domestic habits and manners, religion and morals. 9th 2 vols. London, 1809. KC

Orléans, Charlotte-Elizabeth, duchesse d’ (1652-1722)

  • Fragmens de lettres originales De Madame Charlotte-Elizabeth de Bavière, Veuve de Monsieur, Frère unique de Louis XIV, Ecrites à S. A. S. Monseigneur le Duc Antoine-Ulric de B** W****, & à S. A. R. Madame la Princess de Galles, Caroline, née Princess d’Anspach. De 1715 à 1720. 1st 2 vols. Hambourg, 1788. KC

Parry, Catherine (d. 1788)

  • Eden Vale. A Novel. In Two Volumes. Dedicated, by permission, To Lady Shelburne. By Mrs. Catherine Parry. 1st 2 vols. London, 1784. KC (vol. 2 only); LOST SHEEP (vol. 1)

Piozzi, Hester Lynch; Thrale, Hester Lynch (1741-1821)

  • Letters to and from the late Samuel Johnson, LL.D. To which are added some poems never before printed. Published from the original mss. in her possession, by Hester Lynch Piozzi. 1st 2 vols. London, 1789. LOST SHEEP
  • Observations and reflections made in the course of a journey through France, Italy, and Germany. By Hester Lynch Piozzi. 1st 2 vols. London, 1789. In a private collection.
  • Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnson, LL.D. during the last twenty years of his life. By Hesther Lynch Piozzi. 1st 1 vol. London, 1786. LOST SHEEP

Porter, Jane (1776-1850)

  • The pastor’s fire-side, a novel. 1st 4 vols. London, 1817. LOST SHEEP

Radcliffe, Ann Ward (1764-1823)

  • A Journey made in the summer of 1794, through Holland and the Western Frontier of Germany, with a Return Down the Rhine: to which are added observations during a tour to The Lakes of Lancashire, Westmoreland, and Cumberland. By Ann Radcliffe. 1st 1 vol. London, 1795. LOST SHEEP

Riccoboni, Marie Jeanne de Heurles Laboras de Mézières (1713-1792)

  • Lettres de Mylady Juliette Catesby, A Mylady Henriette Campley, Son Amie. Quatrieme Edition. 4th 1 vol. Amsterdam, 1760. KC

Marie Jeanne Riccoboni. Lettres de Mylady Juliette Catesby, A Mylady Henriette Campley, Son Amie. Amsterdam, 1760.

Scott, Sarah (1723-1795)

  • The history of Sir George Ellison. 1st 2 vols. London, 1766. LOST SHEEP
  • A Description of Millenium Hall, and the Country Adjacent: Together with the Characters of the Inhabitants, And such Historical Anecdotes and Reflections, as May excite in the Reader proper Sentiments of Humanity, and lead the Mind to the Love of Virtue. By A Gentleman on his Travels. 1st 1 vol. London, 1762. LOST SHEEP

Sévigné, Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de (1629-1696)

  • Recueil des lettres de Madame la Marquise de Sévigné, a Madame la Comtesse de Grignan, sa fille. Nouvelle Edition augmentée. 9 vols. Paris,m 1785. KC

Smith, Charlotte Turner (1749-1806)

  • Elegiac sonnets, by Charlotte Smith. The fifth edition, with additional sonnets and other poems. 5th 1 vol. London, 1789. LOST SHEEP
  • The letters of a solitary wanderer: containing narratives of various description. By Charlotte Smith. 1st 2 vols (of 3?). London, 1800. LOST SHEEP

West, Jane (1758-1852)

  • Letters to a young lady, in which the duties and character of women are considered, chiefly with a reference to prevailing opinions. By Jane West. 4th 3 vols. London, 1811. KC

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There are several titles in the catalogue with no author listed. Here are two novels – could either of these been written by a woman? [these 2 titles were not counted in the totals noted above] –  more on these two books in a future post…

  • Edward. A novel. Dedicated (by permission) to Her Majesty. London, 1774. 2 vols. LOST SHEEP
  • The correspondents, an original novel; in a series of letters. A new edition. London, 1775. 1 vol. LOST SHEEP

[Title page images are courtesy of the Reading with Austen website].

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c2020 Reading with Austen Blog

Reading with Jane Austen ~ Women Writers in the Godmersham Park Library


As mentioned in my previous post on Sarah Scott, it is interesting to search the Godmersham Park Library 1818 catalogue for titles written by women, knowing that Jane Austen would have had access to them. So I have gone through the catalogue just to pull the names of these women writers, here listing them all, with hopes to eventually do a post on each (which might actually get done in these times of quarantine…).

It is quite an impressive list – novelists, poets, playwrights, philosophers, historians, essayists, translators, letter-writers! And while some of the works remain in the Knight Collection, many are Lost Sheep, our effort still to locate them. If you might have a copy of any work by any of these women with a Knight bookplate in them, please get in touch with us!

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  1. Austen, Jane (1775-1817) [of course!]
  2. Baillie, Joanna (1762-1851)
  3. Barbauld, Anna Letitia (1743-1825) [as A. Aikin, her maiden name]
  4. Bowdler, Jane (1743-1784)
  5. Brooke, Frances (1724-1789)
  6. Brunton, Mary (1778-1818)
  7. Burney, Frances (1752-1840)
  8. Campan, Jeanne Louise Henriette Genest (1752-1822)
  9. Carter, Elizabeth (1717-1806)
  10. Chapone, Hester (1727-1801)
  11. Cornwallis, Mary (1758-1836):
  12. Craven, Elizabeth Craven, Baroness (1750-1828)
  13. Dixon, Sarah (1671/2-1765)
  14. Dobson, Susannah (d. 1795) [as translator]
  15. Edgeworth, Maria (1768-1849)
  16. Elie de Beaumont, Anne-Louise Morin-Dumesnil (1729-1783)
  17. Elwood, Anne Katharine (1796-1873)
  18. Fielding, Sarah (1710-1768) [as translator]
  19. Gardiner, Jane (1758-1840)
  20. Genlis, Stéphanie Félicité, comtesse de (1746-1830)
  21. Graffigny, (Françoise d’Issembourg d’Happoncourt), Mme de (1695-1758)
  22. Grant, Anne (1755-1838)
  23. Hays, Mary (1759-1843)
  24. Haywood, Eliza Fowler (1693-1756)
  25. Lee, Harriet (1757-1851)
  26. Lee, Sophia (1750-1824)
  27. Lennox, Charlotte (ca. 1730-1804) [as translator]
  28. Macaulay, Catharine (1731-1791)
  29. Maintenon, Françoise d’Aubigné, marquise de (1635-1719)
  30. Marlborough, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of (1660-1744)
  31. Masters, Mary (fl. 1733-1755)
  32. Meades, Anna (b. ca. 1734)
  33. Montagu, Elizabeth Robinson (1718-1800)
  34. Montolieu, Isabelle de (1751-1832)
  35. More, Hannah (1745-1833)
  36. Orléans, Charlotte-Elizabeth, duchesse d’ (1652-1722)
  37. Parry, Catherine (d. 1788)
  38. Piozzi, Hester Lynch; Thrale, Hester Lynch (1741-1821)
  39. Porter, Jane (1776-1850)
  40. Radcliffe, Ann Ward (1764-1823)
  41. Riccoboni, Marie Jeanne de Heurles Laboras de Mézières (1713-1792)
  42. Scott, Sarah (1723-1795)
  43. Sévigné, Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de (1629-1696)
  44. Smith, Charlotte Turner (1749-1806)
  45. West, Jane (1758-1852)

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There are several titles in the catalogue with no author listed. Here are two novels – could either of these been written by a woman? (more on these two books in a future post)

  • Edward. A novel. Dedicated (by permission) to Her Majesty. London, 1774.
  • The correspondents, an original novel; in a series of letters. A new edition. London, 1775.

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c2020 Reading with Austen Blog

Reading with Jane Austen: Sarah Scott in the Godmersham Park Library

While many of the interesting titles found in the Godmersham Park Library of Edward Austen Knight are of religious or historical nature, I find the listings of works by women writers to be the most I am drawn to – and with questions: Did Edward acquire and read these? Did his wife Elizabeth Bridges? We know that all in the family were “great Novel-readers & not ashamed of being so…” [Le Faye, Ltr. 14] Or, perhaps were some of the earlier works those of the original owner of the estate, Mrs. Thomas Knight, Edward’s adoptive mother Catherine Knight?

Catherine Knight, by George Romney – Occeansbridge.com

[Aside: We know that Mrs. Knight was a reader. In Austen’s letters, we find a good number of references to her and it is clear that she and Austen had a respectful and affectionate relationship. This goes back to as early as Austen’s composition of The History of England (completed in 1791), when Austen, in her defense of Mary, Queen of Scots writes:

Oh! what must this bewitching Princess whose only freind was then the Duke of Norfolk, and whose only ones are now Mr Whitaker, Mrs Lefroy, Mrs Knight & myself, who was abandoned by her Son, confined by her Cousin, abused, reproached & vilified by all, what must not her most noble mind have suffered when informed that Elizabeth had given orders for her Death!

 

Mr. Whitaker was the author of Mary Queen of Scots Vindicated (1787) [the title page states: “Author of the history of Manchester; and rector of Ruan-Lanyhorne, Cornwall”] – this book is not in the GPL collection, though there are a few other titles on the history of Mary, Queen of Scots – we can wonder if Jane was influenced by these as well – a topic for another blog post!

Mrs. Lefroy was a neighbor and great friend to Jane. And the mention of Mrs. Knight shows that even at this young age, she and Mrs. Knight would have some sort of rapport discussing history and literature.

Mrs. Knight is also in on the great secret of Jane as author: in an April 25, 1811 letter written to Cassandra while at Henry’s in London, Austen writes of her working on the proofs of Sense and Sensibility:

“I have had two sheets to correct, but the last one only brings us to W.s first appearance. Mrs. Knight regrets in the most flattering manner that she must wait till. May, but I have scarcely a hope of its of its being out in June [it was not published until 23 October 1811]….I am very much gratified by Mrs. Knight’s interest in it; & whatever may be the event of it as to my credit with her, sincerely wish her curiosity could be satisfied sooner than is now probable. I think she will like my Elinor, but cannot build on anything else.”

The point being that Mrs. Knight was a reader and may have added a good number of novels to the collection before she left Godmersham and gave the estate to Edward. Something to be investigated…]

But, back to the topic at hand: women writers at the GPL. I shall start with Sarah Scott. Two of her most popular works were in the GPL and both are now Lost Sheep.

Sarah Scott,1744, by Edward Haytley [wikipedia]

Sarah [Robinson] Scott (1720-1795), born in Yorkshire to Matthew and Elizabeth Robinson, the youngest of nine children, lived much of her life in Cambridge. They were a distinguished family and the children went on to have successful careers. Her older sister was the acclaimed Bluestocking Elizabeth Montagu, who was more well-known and regarded than Sarah for her writings and literary salons, though Elizabeth herself thought Sarah the more talented.

Elizabeth Montagu, 1762, by Allan Ramsay – wikipedia

Gary Kelly in his DNB entry for Scott writes:

Her early letters exhibit a witty, satirical, and fastidious outlook on people, fashionable society, and courtship and marriage, a strong interest in handsome and intelligent men, and contempt for men who feared educated women, for women with no intellectual interests, and for unclean persons of either sex.  

After contracting smallpox in 1741, Sarah’s stock in the marriage market would have plummeted; it may have led to her retreat from the expected social life of a young woman and directed her into a life of writing and female friendships. She developed a close friendship with Lady Barbara Montagu (no relation to Elizabeth), and after a rather disastrous marriage to George Lewis Scott in 1751, of which little is known (and certainly scandalous in some manner*), she and Barbara pooled their small resources and settled in Bath.

Scott published all her works anonymously, though as with Jane Austen, it was likely an “open secret” among her friends and correspondents. Her first novel was The History of Cornelia, published in 1750, and wherein the Heroine has a number of Gothic encounters but returns to a rational and safe view of the world, the book similar to Northanger Abbey in its emphasis on the dangers of reading and female sexuality.

She continued to write novels, largely of a sentimental nature, translated a work from the French, wrote two political histories, and several educational texts. Her 1762 work A Description of Millenium Hall was her most popular, followed by its sequel The History of Sir George Ellison in 1766. These are the two novels that were in the GP Library to which Austen had access, though there is no mention of Scott in her letters (only Sir Walter!).  Both are now missing and Lost Sheep (they do show up in the 1908 catalogue under their titles), Scott is well-represented in the Library at Chawton House with several (but not all) of her works: 1st editions of Millenium Hall, George Ellison, Life of Theodore Agrippa d’Aubigné, and The History of Cornelia (though it doesn’t show up on WorldCat as being in any library!)


Millenium Hall provided a fictional example of what Scott and Lady Barbara were attempting to create in real life, a utopian community of women who would provide help and educational opportunities to the poor women and children in their neighborhood. Millenium Hall, published as written “by A Gentleman on his Travels,” is narrated by a male character who Scott later uses as her protagonist in Sir George Ellison. He tells the life stories of the women living in their secular convent-like home. It is said that it took Scott all of a month to write. The November 1762 of the Monthly Magazine carried the following review of the novel:

Millenium Hall is a name given to the rural and elegant abode of a happy society of Ladies, which the Author tells us he met with in the West of England. The respective histories of these accomplished female Worthies, with their motives for retiring from the World, and forming this delightful connection; together with a particular description of their residence; an account of the rules, and orders of the society; and a view of the very laudable manner in which the amiable Recluses employed their time and their fortunes; — these are the outlines of a work well calculated, as the title justly professes, to inspire the Reader with proper senti ments or humanity, and the love of virtue. We have perused it with pleasure; and heartily recommend it, as a very entertaining as well as a truly moral and sensible performance.

The book was popular and went into several editions through 1778.

[Aside 2: There is a connection to Jane Austen I must mention. It seems that Sir Egerton Brydges, brother of Austen’s great friend and neighbor Anne Lefroy, was the first to note in his Censura Literaria of 1805 that Sarah Scott was the author of nine works. Egerton was married to Mary Robinson, the daughter of Mrs. Scott’s youngest brother, William, and thus probably knew Mrs. Scott’s literary efforts from personal contact. It was a small world! And more proof again that Austen would have known of her. [See Walter M. Crittenden’s introduction to Millenium Hall, p. 18].

1767 Edinburgh ed.

The other title listed in the GP Library catalogue is The History of Sir George Ellison (1766) [also with the title A Man of Real Sensibility; or The History of Sir George Ellison]. The narrator of Millenium Hall tries to improve slaves’ lives in Jamaica, and later establishes a charity school for boys in England modeled after what he had observed at Millenium Hall. His character is likened to Richardson’s Sir Charles Grandison, Jane Austen’s very own favorite Hero. Scott prefaces the book with an epigraph from Lawrence Sterne’s Sentimental Journey:

Dear SENSIBILITY!—Source inexhausted of all that’s precious in our Joys, or costly in our Sorrows.—’Tis here I feel thee—’tis thy Divi|nity that stirs within me.—For that I feel some generous joy—some generous care beyond my self.—All comes from Thee—

Here is a letter to Scott from her sister Elizabeth Montagu about the impending publication of this book: [from the EMOC twitter account, dated 18 February 2020:

[See below for the list of all Scott’s works].

Lady Barbara died in 1765, and Scott lived in various places. Her efforts to again establish a real Millenium Hall at Hitcham House in Buckinghamshire in 1767, to which she invited the writer (and Henry’s sister) Sarah Fielding, among others, proved a failure. She finally settles in Catton, near Norwich, where she dies after a lengthy illness. All of her letters and papers were destroyed after her death in 1795 as per her instruction, though a number of letters to and from her sister Elizabeth Montagu remain. Many of these letters are in the Elizabeth Montagu Collection at the Huntington Library, and currently part of an ongoing project to digitize all of Montagu’s correspondence.

And though most of her letters were destroyed, it seems that there is a 2-volume recent publication of all her extant letters, edited by Nicole Pohl, that runs to 912 pages! – Nicole Pohl, ed., The Letters of Sarah Scott, 2 vols. (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2014). It too is prohibitively expensive (starting at $350 even on the used book market) – you can find it here: https://www.waterstones.com/book/letters-of-sarah-scott/nicole-pohl/9781848934689

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There has been renewed interest in Scott and her contributions to the female literature of her time, called of late “Bluestocking Feminism” [see Kelly]. There have been scholarly editions of her most popular works and all her titles are available in either these scholarly texts, online, or in readily available reprints. What we GLOSSers want however, are the original copies of Millenium Hall and Sir George Ellison that sadly went missing from the Godmersham / Chawton House library sometime after 1908. Let’s hope we can locate (and hopefully) return these two Lost Sheep to the Library at Chawton House! Please contact us if you have any information.

List of works by Sarah Scott:

– The History of Cornelia (1750) [no author noted]: at Chawton House and available as a Gale ECCO reprint.

 –Agreeable Ugliness, or, The Triumph of the Graces; Exemplified in the Real Life and Fortunes of a Young Lady of Some Distinction (1754). A loose translation of Le Laideur aimable by Pierre Antoine, Marquis de La Place, it is a morality tale of two sisters, one beautiful but vain, and the other plain but virtuous. There is a copy at the British Library, a free ebook on Google Books, and a Gale ECCO reprint POD.

 

Dublin ed, 1754

A Journey through Every Stage of Life, Described in a Variety of Interesting Scenes, Drawn from Real Characters. By a Person of Quality (1754). An Arabian Nights sort of work “comprising tales told by a witty female servant to divert her mistress, a disgruntled princess exiled by her brother to clear his way to the throne.” [Kelly, DNB]. A copy at the British Library and available as a Gale ECCO reprint.

– The History of Gustavus Ericson, King of Sweden; With an Introductory History of Sweden, from the Middle of the Twelfth Century. By Henry Augustus Raymond, Esq. (pseud. for Scott) (1761). Full text on HathiTrust, available in reprints.

-The History of Mecklenburgh, from the First Settlement of the Vandals in that Country, to the Present Time; including a Period of about Three Thousand Years (1762). [No author noted]. Likely prompted by the marriage of King George III to Charlotte, the Princess of Mecklenburgh in 1761. At the British Library; full text at HathiTrust, Google Books; various reprints available.

-A Description of Millenium Hall and the Country Adjacent, Together with the Characters of the Inhabitants and such Historical Anecdotes and Reflections as May Excite in the Reader Proper Sentiments of Humanity, and Lead the Mind to the Love of Virtue (1762). By A Gentleman on his Travels. At Chawton House, full text at HathiTrust, the 1955 edition by Walter Crittenden, a scholarly edition edited by Gary Kelly in 1995 (Broadview), and various reprints abound, including kindle.

-The History of Sir George Ellison (1766)]. [No author noted]. Full text available on Google Books (vol 2); also on HathiTrust, a 1767 Edinburgh edition titled A Man of Real Sensibility; or The History of Sir George Ellison; a 1774 Philadelphia edition, printed by James Humphreys, is online at Evans Early American Imprint Collection:  ; a scholarly edition edited by Betty Rizzo (1996); and various reprints now available.

-The Life of Theodore Agrippa d’Aubigné, Containing a Succinct Account of the Most Remarkable Occurrences during the Civil Wars of France in the Reigns of Charles IX, Henry III, Henry IV, and in the Minority of Lewis XIII (1772). [No author noted.] Theodore Agrippa d’Aubigné (1552-1630) was a French poet, soldier, and historian. At the British Library and a few other libraries in the UK and one in Dublin; full text at HathiTrust and Google (same copy); various reprints available.

-The Test of Filial Duty; In a Series of Letters between Miss Emilia Leonard, and Miss Charlotte Arlington: A Novel (1772). Scott’s final work, it is an epistolary novel, emphasizing female friendship and criticizes clandestine marriages as well as “the male-dominated systems of property and patronage.” [Kelly, DNB]. At the British Library, no full-text available except here [subscription needed] : vol. 4 of  Bluestocking Feminism: Writings of the Bluestocking Circle, 1738-1785, edited by Gary Kelly – print edition is available for exorbitant prices!), but there are cheaper reprints available of Filial Duty.

 

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*George Lewis Scott (1708–1780) was a mathematician and literary figure who was tutor to the future George III from 1751 to 1755. He was a friend of the historian Edward Gibbon, the poet James Thomson, Samuel Johnson and other members of the Georgian era literary world, as well as Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin. [Wikipedia]. He was a Robinson family friend, twelve years Sarah’s senior, and family lore says the marriage was never consummated. One problem may have been that Lady Bab tagged along on their honeymoon and lived with them after their return! Scandal would have resulted when Scott returned to her family, so Scott agreed to pay Sarah an annuity, but sources says they spoke of each other with bitterness for the rest of their lives…[Wikipedia, which alas! can sometimes be wrong!]

We can never really know what happened, Scott continued to write and work on her charities, rather than having the requisite twelve children or dying in childbirth…. I am currently reading Millenium Hall – will report on it when I am finished – a bit of a slog, but interesting at the same time! I hope this short intro will entice others to read her, her works thankfully now so readily available.

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A Select bibliography for further reading: there are an increasing number of scholarly essays on Sarah Scott – I list here just a few that I consulted.

  1. Backscheider, Paula R., ed. Revising Women: Eighteenth-Century “Women’s Fiction” and Social Engagement. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U, 2000.
  2. Crittenden, Walter Marion. The Life and Writings of Mrs. Sarah Scott, Novelist (1723-1795). Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania, 1932.
  3. Kelly, Gary. Scott [née Robinson], Sarah (1720–1795). DNB, 2006. https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/24912
  4. Le Faye, Deridre. Jane Austen’s Letters. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011.
  5. Onderwyzer, Gaby Esther. Sarah Scott: Her Life and Works. Berkeley: U California, 1957.
  6. Pearson, Jacqeline. Women’s Reading in Britain 1750-1835: A Dangerous Recreation. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999.
  7. Nicole Pohl, ed., The Letters of Sarah Scott, 2 vols. London: Pickering and Chatto, 2014.
  8. Robertson, Mary L. “The Elizabeth Robinson Montagu Collection at the Huntington Library.” Huntington Library Quarterly 65.1/2 (2002): 21-23.
  9. “Sarah Scott.” Wikepedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Scott.
  10. Scott, Sarah. Millenium Hall. Ed. Gary Kelly. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview, 1995.
  11. _____. Millenium Hall. Ed. Walter M. Crittenden. New York: Bookman, 1955.

Frontispiece to Millenium Hall, 1762 – a  closer image. A Walker is likely Anthony Walker (1726-1765), etcher and engraver from Yorkshire

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