3 vols., 12mo. in sixes; a very good copy apart from a little spotting and a tear to the blank margin of K3 in volume I; contemporary half calf and marbled boards, morocco labels; armorial bookplate of Sir Henry Hay Makdougall of Makerstoun.
Added to your basket:
Munster Abbey, a Romance; interspersed with Reflections on Virtue and Morality … in three Volumes … Edinburgh: Printed by John Moir … for W. Creech, Cross, and S. Cheyne … [and] for Hookham & Carpentar … Vernor & Hood … London.
First edition. Despite its ‘gothic’ title this is a novel of contemporary high life in England and on the Grand Tour, avoiding ‘extravagant descriptions of supernatural scenes and events’. Munster Abbey in Devon is the seat of the hero, Mr. Belford, a bachelor ‘happily possessed of a fortune, ample as his wishes’. This was Leigh’s only novel – he died at 26 – assembled by his widow from her husband’s ‘scattered papers’ and, the ‘Advertisement’ implies, possibly finished by her.
Leigh was a distant relation of Jane Austen, and though there are only Austins and no Austens among the 1183 subscribers (the list extends to 34 pages), we can find there Egerton Brydges, brother of Austen’s friend Anne (later Lefroy), the Dowager Duchess of Chandos, and several other members of the Leigh family. There are many Scottish subscribers.
Despite the ‘liberal and unexampled countenance bestowed on this undertaking’ it did not meet with universal approval. ‘The fable … is uninteresting, the language incorrect and inelegant; and by endeavouring to put sentiment into the mouths of his characters on the most trifling occasions, the author often renders his work ridiculous’ (Critical Review).
Garside, Raven, and Schöwerling 1797: 53.
You may also be interested in...
A SOURCE FOR EVELINA, TRANSLATED AT THE INSTANCE OF HUME RICCOBONI, Marie-Jeanne.
Histoire de Miss Jenny, ecrite & envoyée par elle à Milady, Comtesse de Roscomond, Ambassadrice d’Angleterre à la Cour de Dannemark …
First edition of a scarce epistolary novel of English manners, by the anglophile French writer Madame Riccoboni, a friend and correspondent of Garrick, Hume and Adam Smith, and a publicist for the cause of English literature in France.
GRAVE CONCERNS [FRANCE.]
L’Ombre du feu Cardinal: or, Cardinal Fleury’s Ghost. Translated from the original French Manuscript of the Abbè de V[ertamont]; formerly one of His Eminency’s Domesticks: and now a State-Prisoner in the Bastille, at Paris …
First edition, ostensibly translated from a manuscript rescued by an Officer of the Guards at the Bastille, but in fact an original English thrust at French foreign policy following the death of Cardinal André-Hercule de Fleury, the able chief minister of Louis XV and political ally of Sir Robert Walpole.