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Title: Caroline; or, the Diversities of Fortune: a Novel.
Description: Dubllin Printed by M. Graisberry, For Messrs. Gilbert, White, Byrne, and H. Whitesone. 1787. FIRST IRISH EDITION. 2 volumes. 12mo, 164 x 100 mms., pp. [iv], 283 [284 blank]; [iv], 284, including half-titles, recent half antlique-style calf, marbled boards, gilt rules across spines, red morocco labels; light occasional foxing, E11 with portion of loss to head affecting text in volume 2, with the ownership inscription of "Cath. Tipping" in ink on the title-page of the first volume. A very good set. The Critical Review found Caroline to be "a pleasing and interesting story" (Vol. 63, May 1787, p. 390). The Monthly Review found the novel to be a "pleasing and well-wrought story" (Vol. 77, August 1787, p. 162). Might the latter reviewer have read the former's review before writing his or her own? The Monthly Review goes on to point out the edifying nature of the tale: "From the diversities of fortune which the heroine of this novel experienced, and from the manner in which she conducted herself on every occasion, and in every change of state, the young and unthinking female may discover that it is as easy, when armed by virtue and fortitude, to pass without injury through the thorny, as she may have already proceeded through the flowery paths of life. The moral inculcated in this performance is, that Honour, or Chastity, has nothing to fear amid the severest storms of fortune, however surrounded by perils and dangers ..." (p. 162). The Spenserians website finds that "[b]iographical information on Anne Hughes appears to be lacking. She had modest success as a novelist, including multiple editions and a French translation. The copy of her Poems in the British Library has an inscription to the miscellaneous writer Thomas Hull (1728-1808) in gratitude 'for the kind attention with which he honour'd her last winter, which she shall at all times be happy to acknowledge' " (). Janet Todd's Dictionary (1987) similarly finds little biographical information on Hughes: no birth or death dates, for instance, and no place of birth or death. But an obscure nineteenth-century reference book, William Cushing's Anonyms: A Dictionary of Revealed Authorship (1889), suggests the novelist's identity is clear: she is "Hughes, Mrs. Rice, 1733-1813: a Welsh poet and novelist; d. at Cemmes, Co. Montgomery" (Vol. 1, p. 94). Has anyone proved Cushing wrong, or has this lead simply gone mostly unnoticed? Cushing's identification of the novelist Anne Hughes as Mrs Rice Hughes (1733-1813), of the small village of Cemmes (or Cemmaes) in Wales, may be partially corroborated by two contemporary obituaries, those in the European Magazine and the Gentleman's Magazine, particularly the latter, which refers to the "relict" of Mr Rice Hughes, Esq., as having early exhibited "poetic genius", and having been a pious Christian, though no novels are mentioned (Gentleman's Magazine, March 1813, pp. 288-9). Why mention poetry but not novels in an obituary of a purportedly upstanding woman? At this time novel-writing and novel-reading were not universally regarded as improving pursuits. Consulting the ESTC for the earliest-published forms of this novel, one sees no entry for the first edition unless this 1787 Dublin edition is it. The earliest year of publication that the ESTC gives for this book is 1787, with one Dublin edition dated 1787 (a copy of which is the item on offer), and two London editions dated 1787, but those two London editions are marked "the second edition" and "the third edition" respectively (ESTC N43698 and ESTC N2976). This Dublin edition is rare. The ESTC finds only three copies in the British Isles and Ireland (British Library, Oxford, and the National Library of Ireland), and only three copies elsewhere (Indiana, Minnesota, North Carolina). I cannot be the first to notice that the ESTC lists no copy of this first Irish edition in an Ivy League library. Raven, James, and Antonia Forster, Peter Garside, Rainer Schöwerling; with the assistance of Stephen Bending, Christopher Skelton-Foord and Karin Wünsche, The English Novel, 1770-1829: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction Published in the British Isles (OUP, 2000), 1787: 41.

Keywords: fiction women literature

Price: GBP 2750.00 = appr. US$ 3926.96 Seller: John Price Antiquarian Books
- Book number: 9488

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