The Exclusives. In three Volumes ...

London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley ... 1830.

3 vols., 12mo., with the half-titles but without the terminal advertisement leaves in vols. II and III; some foxing in volume III, else a very good copy in mid nineteenth-century half calf and marbled boards.

£950

Approximately:
US $1329€1077

Make an enquiry

First edition of a society novel written after the enormous success of Marianne Spencer Stanhope’s Almack’s (1826), a roman à clef centred on the fashionable assembly rooms in St. James’s. In The Exclusives Lady Tilney plans a new coterie as Almack’s is in decline (‘that circle of exclusiveness had been polluted, its brief course was run’). She is clearly meant to represent the heiress Lady Jersey, the acknowledged leader of London society, who also figures in Almack’s as Lady Hauton and in Coningsby and Sybil as Lady St. Julian. The Comtesse Leinsengen (Princess Lieven) is another character who finds that Almack’s has become ‘tiresome’ and ‘stupid’: ‘It was good enough at first, when it put people in a passion, et pendant que se faisoit fureur; but now that, somehow or oder, you liberales admitted every petite demoiselle vid her red elbows, and vulgar mama ... it has lost all its character’.

The new société choisie is to be ‘quite exclusive – we shall settle d’avance every particular and qualification of the persons who may be admitted’:

‘The first requisite for a newly-initiated member to know is, how to cut all friends and relations who are not deemed worthy of being of a certain côterie; – the next, is to dress after a particular fashion, talk a particular species of language, not to know any thing or any person that does not carry the mark of the côterie, and speak in a peculiar tone of voice. To hold any conversation which deserves that name is called being prosy; – to understand any thing beyond the costume of life, pedantic’ (II, 136).

Shortly after publication A Key to the Royal Novel, The Exclusives appeared as a pamphlet ‘to extend the [novel’s] sphere of usefulness ... by supplying the real name of the characters’ (partly reprinted in Bentley’s Private List and in Sadleir). The novel itself was remarkably successful, running to three editions within three months.

Sadleir 475; Wolff 1011.

You may also be interested in...

WITH POPE’S PREFATORY VERSES [SWIFT, Jonathan].

Travels into several remote Nations of the World. In four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, first a Surgeon, and then a Captain of several Ships … The second Edition [vol. II adds: corrected].

‘Second’ edition (in fact the fourth, since the three ‘issues’ of 1726 are separate editions), but the first to include Pope’s prefatory verses. Teerink-Scouten note two states, with either four or five verses (signed a2-7 b4 or a2-7 b4 *2, the pages marked ‘)(’ at the top). Ours contains four (see Teerink 1224 and Norman Ault, New Light on Pope, pp. 231 ff.).

Read more

THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE [MENDHAM, Thomas].

The wonder working Water-Mill displayed with its Apparatus, Appurtenances, Appendages, and Operations; or, the Mill to grind old People young; erected and practised by the well known Doctor, the learned philanthropic Friend of Farmer Hodge …

First and only edition, very rare, of this eccentric, provincially printed allegory: Pilgrim’s Progress meets Tristram Shandy.

Read more