FICTION IN BRITAIN,
In a letter to the poetess Anna Seward on 30 November 1802, Walter Scott surveyed the various methods of publication open to a budding author, including one that was definitely not suited to himself:
The mode of publishing by subscription is one which in itself can carry nothing degrading & which in many of the more extensive & high priced publications is perhaps essentially necessary. Still however it is asking the public to become bound to pay for what they have not seen, & carries with it if not the reality at least the appearance of personal solicitation & personal obligation. 
Scott was in a buoyant mood, having just sold the copyright of his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border for £500, and was keen to impress on Seward that he for one was unlikely ever to indulge in the vanity of affecting to despise literary profit. As he started so he proceeded, achieving sums through the sale of his poems huge enough to purchase and start rebuilding Abbotsford, and then with fiction turning to the alternative method of taking half profits on editions (where the rake-off was proportionately larger, partly through the insistence that the printing be done by his own firm). Throughout his life Scott would only be on one side of the subscription fence. In 1817 we find him soliciting subscriptions from the great and good for the fifth edition of James Hogg’s poem The Queen’s Wake, though it is impossible to think of a similar engagement in support of ‘poor Hogg’ as a novelist.  Scott does however appear as one of the ‘benefactors’ in Mrs Frederick Layton’s Spanish Tales (1816), whose Preface pointed to a new respectability gained by fiction since the days of Wollstonecraftian heroines.  In 1824, he appears among a mass subscription by the Scottish legal establishment to Adolphe and Selanie, by Henri Dubois, self-styled ‘teacher of French language’ in Edinburgh. Dubois in his Preface observed that he had served as an officer in the French Imperial army, and (somewhat disingenuously, it would seem) expressed anxiety that this might affect the reception in Britain; though one can only imagine this gave extra piquancy for Scott himself, just about to embark on his mammoth Life of Napoleon. Dubois popped up again in London four years later with another subscription title, The History of a French Dagger, this time describing himself as ‘late surgeon of Cavalry in the Imperial Army’. His dedicatory ‘To my Subscribers’ there unabashedly acknowledges ‘pecuniary profit’ as a motive (an interesting echo of Scott twenty years earlier),  and a list of some 320 subscribers, mainly from London addresses and many of them surgeons, indicates that Dubois successfully pulled off the feat of making a killing in both Edinburgh and London.
Another perspective is added if we shift to a small village in Hampshire, where at an early stage Jane Austen caught sight of the subscription method as a way of bringing female novelists into the public eye. ‘Miss J. Austen, Steventon’ appears as one of 1058 subscribers in the list prefixed to Frances Burney’s Camilla (1796). Tradition has it that Jane Austen was dependent on her father for the guinea fee, but, as I have argued elsewhere,  news of the subscription probably came through her maternal relations—the vicar at Great Bookham, where Burney completed the novel, was the Revd Samuel Cooke, Jane Austen’s godfather, whose wife Cassandra (née Leigh) was a cousin of Jane Austen’s mother (also born Cassandra Leigh). In this way could subscription lists grow by spreading through the grid of gentry society. Jane Austen almost certainly must have fantasised about such a list emanating outwards from herself, and her First Impressions was begun only three months after Camilla’s appearance in July 1796. In the event, as we know, the Revd Austen wrote directly to Cadell and Davies, the publishers, and this early version of Pride and Prejudice got no further. Launching a subscription from a country rectory was a different matter from one sponsored by the Queen’s court, and besides there was no way in which a young woman in the arms of a protective family could claim victim status (pace some Austenian feminist interpretations). Like Scott, though in their own way, the Austens stayed firmly on the donor side of subscription fence. ‘Miss Austen, Steventon, near Overton’ appears on the subscription list in The Traditions (1795), written by the young Mary Sherwood, who, like Jane and her elder sister Cassandra, had been a pupil at the Abbey School in Reading.  The Austen family in Kent—brother Edward, his wife, and Mrs Knight (Edward’s patroness)—also subscribed to a now extremely rare novel, Wareham Priory (1799), along with more than 280 other subscribers, many of them connected with militia forces stationed in SE England to counter a threatened French invasion. Jane Austen herself waited another twelve years to publish, and then did so privately at her own risk; though these interventions in subscription probably gave her a useful early glimpse of the public readership now available for fiction.
As the cases of Austen and Scott indicate, there were a number of factors militating against the use of the subscription method by authors, not least in the case of fiction, which some modern commentators have characterised as the most commercial form of publication in the period. Publishers, too, such as William Lane of the Minerva Press, were unlikely to see much advantage in the small guaranteed sale subscription usually offered, compared with a quick purchase of the copyright and an unimpeded assault on the open market. Those authors who did venture forth on their own met numerous pitfalls on the way, as their subscriptions lists and accompanying preliminaries frequently tell. Solicitation could mean public humiliation; subscribers were sometimes quicker to sign up than to pay; delays occasionally left the projector facing rising costs for paper and print. Some projects evidently never got off the ground;  while other disappointed (especially male) novelists ended up by writing works which noisily announced their status as ‘not a subscription novel’.  The low standing of fiction, notably earlier in our period, was also evidently an impediment; and it is noticeable that both Charlotte Smith and Mary Robinson benefited by large subscriptions to their poetry, but always published their fiction commercially. Even so the method had its advantage in providing a way for novice authors to test the water, especially at a time when large numbers of women, often without direct means of approaching the London trade, were entering the genre. Provincial writers could use a list as a lever with a local bookseller, who then in turn might contact his London publishing connection. The novel also lost some of its leper status during a few heady years in the later 1790s, a premium time for subscription novels, and then again more generally with the influence of the moral evangelicals and of Scott from the mid-1810s.
Even so one would be hard put to claim any significant advance from the available guides to subscription literature as a whole. F. J. G. Robinson and P. J. Wallis’s Book Subscription Lists (1975), a pioneering tool in the sociology of readership, notes for example in its Introduction a shift during the later eighteenth century to smaller texts published by subscription, but does not specify fiction.  Scanning the annual lists in this work, novels of any kind seem few and far between: I counted 15 roughly classifiable as fiction up to 1780, a single novel in the 1780s, and then a small flurry of nine more in the 1790s. This paucity, however, was not substantiated by my own experience when embarking on a study of novel production between 1780 and 1830 approaching twenty-five years ago. Work in the Bristol University Library’s Early Novels Collection led to several titles, with considerable lists, which had not been included in Robinson and Wallis: Burton-Wood (1783), with 212 subscribers; The Contradiction (1796), by the Revd William Cole, with 237 subscribers; and Wareham Priory, with its 287 subscribers. New titles also came into view with the progress of the Eighteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue (ESTC), and I remember how a trial query, requested at a Conference held to publicise that project, threw up five more novels of whose subscription status I had been unaware. These and further titles were subsequently included in Eighteenth-Century Subscription Lists: A Check-List, compiled by R. C. Alston and others,  though like its electronic base this does not offer generic guidelines.
From such sources it was possible by 1987 to build up and report on a file of some 25 subscription novels between 1780 and 1799 inclusive, 20 of these in the 1790s, 16 bulked between 1795 and 1799 (representing it seemed about 5 per cent of the output of fiction).  In following years more came into view, extending this particular file to 32: with 6 titles belonging to the 1780s, and the remainder to the 1790s. It should be added, however, that these totals for titles from the pre-1800 years (as described in the following Checklist) clearly underestimate the full number of works with lists. In fact, volume one of The English Novel 1770–1829 (2000) has disclosed a further 8 such titles belonging to the 1780s and an additional 28 in the 1790s, suggesting that the true sum-total for new novels with subscription lists between 1780 and 1799 is as high as 68 titles. 
With the period 1800–29 the results have been more spectacular still. When writing in 1987 I reported ‘an immediate drop’ of subscription novels with the new century, stating that in using similar means of retrieval it had only been possible to find a handful of relevant titles.  It has since become clear that this was more a reflection of the inadequacy of sources after 1800 than a true representation of the situation. This changing viewpoint came largely through first-hand work on the Corvey collection, while actively compiling the second volume of The English Novel 1770–1829, combined with investigations in a number of other leading collections (including those at Aberdeen University, the Houghton Library at Harvard, the Beinecke at Yale University, the University of Illinois at Urbana, and the Special Collections Department in the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Library). As a result it has been possible to trace a further 70 novels with subscription lists published 1800–29 inclusive: comprising 34 titles in the 1800s, 25 in the 1810s, and 11 in the 1820s. Comparison with existing records of subscription lists makes this tally appear especially spectacular, even taking into account the more recently-published ‘Extended Supplement’ to Book Subscription Lists, completed by Ruth Wallis.  Of the 70 discovered just 7 were picked up by the original 1975 Guide; to which the new Supplement adds a further 11, only occasionally supplying details of numbers of subscribers, total copies, and female subscribers. It is more than likely too that this new grand total still underestimates the number of novels whose publication was aided by subscription. Some copies of a title can be found lacking a list that subsequently appears in another copy discovered in a different source.  In other cases lists were gathered by authors and then not attached to any of the copies distributed, giving these titles (not included in the present survey) a kind of half-way status between subscription and commercial fiction. 
The overall result is a collection of materials presently relating to over one hundred subscription novels between 1780 and 1829 inclusive, all seen at first hand, and the Checklist of titles appended attempts to provide particular information about their publication history and individual significance. Each entry there begins with details of title, authorship and imprint, based on actual title-pages, albeit with an element of standardisation (e.g. publisher’s addresses are usually omitted). In bold is then given a breakdown of the lists, in the following order: number of male subscribers (M); number of female subscribers (F); gender-unidentifed subscribers (U); sum total of subscriptions (S); additional copies (A); total number of copies subscribed (T). This line is completed with the name of the holding library where the copy was seen (BL for British Library, and so on). Three separate lines after this then record: i) main locations of subscribers as evident or inferable from the lists; ii) the social composition of the lists, again insofar as this can be deduced; iii) an indication of type (say Gothic or Sentimental), and, where relevant, special features (such as reference to the French Revolution). After this a general Notes field gives details concerning prefatory matter, the positioning of the lists, etc., on an optional basis. Entries are concluded, where appropriate, with information concerning in-period further editions published in mainland Britain. It will be noticed that these, when they occur, not uncommonly prove to be reissues by other publishers, notably the Minerva Press, usually made up from the residue of copies left unsold after the original subscription, with replacement title-pages inserted.
A breakdown of the entries based on authorship shows a large proportion of female as opposed to male subscription novels: 75 novels by women, 23 by men, and 4 gender-unknown. This division embraces a number of gender-implied titles (‘By a Lady’, ‘By a Bengal Officer’, etc.), and also takes on board information found in prefaces (where an author, though absent on the title-page, might sign his/her name); it also involves prioritising translators over original foreign authors. The same preponderance is found within most decades: all six titles in the 1780s being written by women; followed by a proportion of 18 female- to 7 male-authored novels in the 1790s; 27 to 6 in the 1800s; and 19 to 5 in the 1810s; with the 1820s alone showing a more even balance (5 apiece). No doubt this reflects a larger movement towards female authorship of fiction, beginning in the later 1780s and sustaining itself until at least the mid-1810s; but the prevalence of women authors in the case of subscription novels is striking, and in general terms significantly exceeds the ascertainable gender balance relating to output generally. Owing to the circumstances of subscription, authors could hardly hide their identity; whereas in the case of commercial fiction anonymity was always an option—one result of this being the resilient body of unidentified anonymous works which helps make gender analysis more problematic across the full range of fiction writing.
Subscription fiction, through prefatory materials such as Dedications and Addresses to the subscribers, also provides an unusually full picture of the circumstances underlying authorship. Of the female-authored novels, more than half include personal dedications, all but a handful to other women, the bulk of these being members of the royal family or aristocratic. The incidences of this if anything are higher in the earlier period, with a greater inclination evident later to make more general addresses to the subscribers and sometimes to the public at large. One common factor is a tendency to foreground the plight/tremulousness/abjectness of the authoress. A prevalent type here is the vulnerable young lady at the outset of her literary career. This is actually inscribed in the title in some cases (as in Entry 3, which thus signals ‘the first literary production of a young lady’; or in Entry 9, ‘the first literary attempt of a young lady’). Others used their Prefaces to the same purpose: that to Mrs Yeates’s Eliza (1800: Entry 35), presents its author as ‘tremblingly alive to all the fears which the first attempt naturally excites’ (I, [v]); while Mrs A. Duncombe’s ‘To the Public’, in The Village Gentleman, and the Attorney at Law (1808: Entry 65) excuses a number faults, including an absence of chapter divisions, on account of the novel’s representing a ‘first offering to the World’.  In fact, in a large number of cases (some 30 as far as can be ascertained) the first attempt proved to be the last. Of course there are strong exceptions here—the most striking perhaps being Sarah Wilkinson, whose The Thatched Cottage (1806: Entry 56) generated funds for the purchase of a library, the launching-pad for more novels and a multitude of chapbook condensations. 
Another interesting case is provided by Eliza Parsons’ The History of Miss Meredith (1790: Entry 8), the first of what was to prove a chain of novels, but whose Preface nevertheless expresses ‘trembling anxiety’ at first facing the public eye. Mrs Parsons, who had been left destitute with eight children to support, is representative of another common female type in subscription fiction: the widowed/separated woman or bereft daughter, with a dependent family. Under this heading might be included one (professedly at least) male-authored novel: Munster Abbey (1797: Entry 21), ‘by Sir Samuel Egerton Leigh’, which attracted the largest number of subscribers among those novels listed, mostly from the residential squares of Edinburgh and London. Its putative author, a scion of a noble family (and remotely connected with the Austen Leighs), had died at an early age (twenty-seven) in the Edinburgh New Town. In the ‘Advertisement’ Lady Leigh stated that the novel had been found among her deceased husband’s papers; but since an earlier announcement in the Edinburgh papers refers to its having been left uncompleted,  one wonders whether at least some of the story, including its unrealistically sunny end, actually came from the widow herself. More spectacularly bereft, in the following year, was Emily Clark, styled in the title of her Ianthé (1798: Entry 24) as ‘grand-daughter of the late Colonel Frederick, son of Theodore, King of Corsica’. In her ‘Introduction’ the authoress outlines a somewhat shaky royal ancestry, and alludes briefly to the ‘melancholy fate’ of her father. Colonel Frederick had shot himself in the porch of Westminster Abbey, having spent time on the Continent trying to raise money for the Prince of Wales and his brothers. The royal princes head the subscription list, followed by an unusually motley crew of other subscribers. The work was published ‘for the author’ by the fashionable West End publishers Hookham and Carpenter, who at the end of the work placed an advert for ‘Suicide Rejected, an Elegy […] to which is prefixed A Moral Discourse against Suicide’, ‘published for the benefit of Mrs Clark and her childen’. Surviving records of the publishers’ transactions indicate that ultimately Mrs Clark made only a pound from Ianthé. 
Later works in the Checklist give a general impression of older, sadder women soliciting subscriptions, at least compared with the tremulous young ladies of the 1780s. In the Introduction to her The Prior Claim (1813: Entry 78), Mrs Iliff offered a dialogue between allegorical figures (Benevolence, Prudery, etc.) concerning the suitability of subscription fiction for a woman wishing to provide for her family, in which the full ghastliness of having to ply for support is at points nakedly exposed. Just as painful to read, though written from a different vantage point, are the preliminaries to Contrast (1828: Entry 99), by Regina Maria Roche, a veteran (but now sadly out-of-touch) author, whose Children of Abbey (1796) was arguably the most commercially successful circulating library novel of the Romantic period. In her Preface (I, [xii]–xv) Roche describes the subscription (by circular) as ‘a last resource’, thanks her ‘benevolent Subscribers’ for their indulgence, and yet (like other later novelists) appears apprehensive of a less favourable reaction from the general public (‘the majority of her readers’).
It is more difficult to draw conclusions about male subscription novelists, partly because of the relative smallness of the instances provided, partly because of the more resistant positions struck by some of these authors in preliminary matter. Proportionately fewer (8 noted out of 23) made direct dedications, 5 to male and 3 to female sponsors. The familiar tropes of female dependency are likewise hard to find even in parallel forms. Novice authorship is never openly signalled, while the need to look after family dependents is only obtrusive in one clear case. Joseph Wildman’s The Force of Prejudice (1799: Entry 29) describes in its Preface the death of a father and the author’s need to support his mother, and thanks Mrs Crespigny for help with the subscription. Mrs Champion de Crespigny (1748?–1812), a novelist herself and an ubiquitous presence in lists of this period, helped bring in some 750 subscriptions, mainly from London residential addresses, the third largest tally found.  Other male authors struck attitudes of relative unconcern or even belligerence. In a ‘Preface to the General Reader’ to his The Contradiction (1796: Entry 14), the Revd William Cole—only half-facetiously it would seem—offered as his rationale for publication the greater profitability of novels compared with sermons. In The Creole (Entry 15), published during the same year, Samuel Arnold, concluding his Preface, asserted that no exertions had been taken on his part to swell the list: an attitude matched by C. D. L. Lambert in The Adventures of Cooroo (: Entry 53), who in ‘The Author’s Apology to the Reader’ notes that the list might have been larger had not a concern for his business (nature of which not stated) prevented him from being actively solicitous. Richard Sickelmore in a Preface of 1798 (see Entry 22) presented his routine Gothic novel as a means of filling in his spare time at Brighton; while, in perhaps the most ‘masculine’ disclaimer of all, the military author of St Mary’s Abbey (1801: Entry 43) stated that his novel was written while on solitary duty in the Guard Room. Elsewhere one senses dependency and diffidence being turned into a kind of literary game. The prize for spectacular abjectness goes to the unknown (probably Irish) perpetrator of Tales, by an Unwilling Author (1822: Entry 93), where even the ‘Errata’ list is used as a means of conveying the plight of the author: ‘The writer of these pages is contained within four walls!!!’ Whether the walls belong to a hospital, prison, or asylum is not stated.
One subscription novelist whose immurement was genuine will be found in the case of Entry 62, The British Admiral: A Novel (1808), ‘by A Naval Officer’, where the author in a continuation to his dedication to Admiral Sir Home Popham describes how he has received donations from the persons listed while imprisoned more than ten months for ‘a debt of thirty pounds only’.  This first work can be seen as one of several subscription novels which drew attention to active service (see also as instances Entries 43, ‘by an officer in the British Militia’, and 72, ‘by an Old Naval Officer’). Here there is a clear counterpart in those female titles which intimate authorship by a victim of the war through the loss of a supporting relative (e.g. Entries 32 ‘by the Widow of an Officer’, and 67 ‘by the daughter of a Captain in the Navy, deceased’). A similar focus for public feeling was provided by the French emigrées in the later 1790s. The success of the subscription to Camilla was undoubtedly aided by its author’s well-known marriage to the exiled General d’Arblay; that to Mary Butt Sherwood’s The Traditions, the fourth largest in the Checklist, gathered pace as a result of its being in aid of the similarly disadvantaged M. St Quentin, the son of a French nobleman from Alsace; and the longest list found, belonging to Munster Abbey, is co-headed by the most noble emigrée of all, the Comte d’Artois (Charles X to be), who was then residing in the Scottish royal palace as a guest of the government. Such extensive lists bear witness to the determination of the British establishment, both Whigs and Tories, to be seen as closing ranks in the light of the perceived threat from France. In fact, there is a suggestion that a number of smaller, somewhat contrived-looking lists, as found in slightly later Minerva publications, were placed there to give an added cachet to what were essentially commercial articles.
Subscription novels also, of course, have great potential for what they can tell us about the audience for fiction, and it is here that the greatest amount of work remains to be done. Due attention in any analysis needs to be given to possible distorting factors: the probability, for example, that male heads of households who feature in lists were often not the true readers (Richard Lovell Edgeworth appears alone in The Traditions, but one suspects it was Maria who consumed the novel). Even so, some features of the gender composition of lists are striking, and appear to reflect the flowering of fiction as a female form in the 1790s, followed by the appropriation of the mode by male authors and readers during the 1820s. Four out of six novels in the 1780s, notwithstanding female authorship in each case, have lists in which male outnumber female subscribers. In the 1790s the situation is reversed, with 15 lists having larger female subscriptions—one of them, Entry 20, entirely female—compared with 11 male-predominant lists; and, perhaps more telling still, only 6 cases (from 18) where a female-authored novel has a larger male subscription. During the first two decades of the new century the position tends to even out. In the 1800s from the 34 lists analysed, the ratio of male to female is 18 to 16; though this decade includes some fairly hefty female subscriptions (see, e.g., Entries 39 and 63). In the 1810s the proportion is 11 male to 14 female, this breakdown incorporating several titles where the number of male and female subscribers are almost even (as in Entries 74 and 75). The 1820s, on the other hand, tend to mirror the male-dominance of the 1780s (the lists in all but two titles show a male predominance), though, unlike the 1780s, the novels subscribed to are sometimes now male-authored as well. Finally, it is worth noting that through the whole fifty years there is only one clear-cut case of a male-authored novel gaining a predominantly female subscription (Entry 29).
The amount of detail given about locations varies from almost blanket coverage to no information at all. Especially difficult to unlock can be lists which provide only a smattering of addresses/places of residence, not least when those given are in all likelihood the exception rather than rule; for instance, Amelia Bristow’s evangelical Emma de Lissau (1828: Entry 100) mentions no locations except ‘Friends at Brighton, 4 copies’; though the probability is most subscribers came from London. Making due allowance for vagaries such as this, it is possible to offer the following breakdown:
Predominantly London. 15 lists fit this category, with a greater frequency in the earlier period , and a shift in the later period (especially when viewed with the next category) away from the West End and Central London to include the burgeoning suburban developments.
London with satellite areas. 23 listed match this category: a fairly common pattern here being a combination of a metropolitan subscription with one or two provincial groupings (as might result from a family connection), though some of the larger subscriptions like Camilla set off more intricate combinations, and sometimes relatively exotic locations were involved (Jamaica in the case of Mrs Gomersall’s two novels, and Oporto for Clark’s Ianthé). Again this London-dominated category, at its height in the 1790s, tends to tail off in the later period.
English provincial. 25 of those listed evidently emanated from provincial neighbourhoods or towns, rather than London, though London might be involved. Amongst them, with the dominant area in parenthesis, can be counted: Entry 10 (Liverpool); 32 (Essex); 35 (Worcestershire); 43 (Chelmsford); 45 (NW England); 46 (Derbyshire); 48 (Maidstone); 53 (Norfolk); 57 (Sheffield); 63 (Bath); 73 (Gloucestershire); 81 (Nottinghamshire); 83 (Yorkshire); 89 (West Midlands); 90 and 92 (Forest of Dean); 94 (Norwich); 98 (Margate); 102 (East Anglia).
Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The development of a polite reading public in Edinburgh can be sensed in Munster Abbey, which offers an early glimpse of the fashionable new-town dwellers who in the next century would turn in increasing numbers to fiction. Eight Edinburgh circulating libraries are listed in Peter Middleton Darling’s The Romance of the Highlands (1810: Entry 68), published in the same year Scott’s Waverley was first advertised (though completion of the latter did not come until 1814). Finally in Dubois’ Adolphe and Selanie (1824), as already suggested, a full array of professional worthies, not averse to having their names associated with fiction, is visible. Predominantly Irish subscriptions can be found in Entries 59 and 93, though in both these cases it is the absence of a supporting readership which comes over most strongly: only with The Neville Family (1814: Entry 80) can one sense a strong supporting locale, perhaps significantly for this instance in the neighbourhood of Cork. The Cardiff imprint of Leave of Absence (1824: Entry 97) is strictly a one-off; though it is interesting to see in the list a mixture of country gentry and professional subscribers characteristic of the still largely rural country districts of South Wales combining with emergent industrialists and mercantalists; and also there the dominant presence of the Marquess of Bute, whose ownership of the port of Cardiff and land in the coal-rich valleys was to lead to an accumulation of immense wealth later in the century.
In addition to the categories noted above, the Checklist also includes 15 cases in which aristocratic court sponsorship is the dominant factor, 16 more where an absence of locations makes analysis impractical, and one single item (Entry 66) consisting almost entirely of overseas India army officers.
Ascertaining social groupings involves comparable difficulties. Aristocratic subscribers are generally obtrusive: sometimes found in separate clusters at the head of lists, elsewhere granted other forms of privilege such as precedence in alphabetical order or block capital lettering. In a few cases a whole list appears to consist of an aristocratic group followed by dependents and hangers-on. Members of the gentry are also fairly perceptible, through titles (Sir, ‘Bart’, etc.), territorial designations, and the appendage of ‘Esq.’ (though the latter appears to have been a somewhat fluid term). A large professional component is inferable through the presence of titles such as Dr, and related factors such as a high proportion of clergymen, administrative post-holders, and serving officers. The status of women subscribers can usually only be guessed at through surrounding males, at least in the case of the gentry and professional classes. Far more difficult to decipher are the ‘anonymous’ Mr/Mrs/Misses who often form the greater part of medium-sized and larger lists. Often one senses a large ‘middle-class’ presence of minor professionals and tradespeople. Only occasionally, however, does one find descriptions such as ‘Miss Robins, at Mr Robins, grocer, Holborn Hill’ (Entry 16) or ‘Brown, Mr J. Organist’ (Entry 98), though it is not unlikely there were more grocer’s daughters if not many organists beneath the surface. An attempt has been made in the Checklist to give some idea of the social formations found, though virtually every instance deserves fuller inspection. It is worth noting in general terms, however, that while aristocrat-dominant lists continue right to the end of our period—witness Roche’s Contrast (1828: Entry 99)— others which appear to be largely professional and/or middle class in composition can be found from the beginning. Moreover, while there is an overall tendency in subscription fiction towards deference and dutiful morality, a degree of ideological freedom can sometimes be picked up in those novels which appear to have enjoyed a relatively ‘middle-class’ sponsorship. Noteworthy here is the pro-mercantile attitude found in Ann Gomersall’s two titles (Entries 5 and 7); the primitivist liberalism of Samuel Arnold’s The Creole (1796: Entry 15); the reorientation of Wollstonecraftian feminism in Helena Wells’s Constantia Neville (1800: Entry 33); and James Amphlett’s satirical assault on the patronage system in Ned Bentley (1808: Entry 64), itself dedicated to the Whig politician R. B. Sheridan.
This leads to one last question: to what extent did subscription novels parallel generic movements perceptible in fiction output generally? In some cases, the answer must be negative. A fair number in the Checklist are formulaic in the extreme, either through ineptitude or ultra-cautiousness on their author’s part, and a handful were evidently dragged out just for the occasion. A prefatory notice to Wareham Priory (1799) observes that ‘As this Novel was written a few years before the French Revolution, the reader will not be surprised to find young men making France and Italy part of their continental tour’; while the ‘relict’ Sarah Cobbe in the Preface to a highly predictable Julia St Helen (1800: Entry 39) freely acknowledges that the work ‘is not mine, but has been kindly obtained for me by the deceased author’s relatives’ (I, [vii]). In other cases, it is possible to trace a more positive trajectory, which, if ultimately reactive rather than innovative, does nevertheless suggest that subscription authors could be aware of recent trends and fresh expectations. Sentimental domestic novels, in the manner of the early Charlotte Smith, are particularly noticeable in the 1790s and early 1800s, and accompanying lists encourage the view that this type was popular with both fashionable residents in the London West End and southern English provincial neighbourhoods: the former apparently preferring upper-class characters in the key roles, the latter appreciating images of beneficent gentry protection.
Gothic elements first appear in 1795–96, and (though the sample is small) are most prevalent during the years 1798–1803, albeit by 1804 a reaction is also clear (see Entry 51). Contrary to recent claims that that the Gothic genre enjoyed a widespread popularity amongst a female ‘middle-class’ readership, the most common grouping found in these lists is that of Whig aristocratic ladies (see Entries 25, 31, 41, 47, 50). Historical novels, some claiming a ‘documentary’ origin, though invariably sentimental in character, are found virtually from the start: see, for example, Anne Fuller’s The Son of Ethelwolf (1789: Entry 6), which rather implausibly offers King Alfred as role model for Prince of Wales. No doubt an air of authenticity helped assuage the fears of subscribers worried about publicly associating themselves with fiction. A distinct shift to ‘regional’/’national’ subjects is perceptible during the 1810s, with Irish and Scottish settings and/or characters especially popular. This reflects larger successes with ‘national’ tales on the open market, notably by Maria Edgeworth, Sydney Owenson, and Jane Porter (with Scottish Chiefs (1810)); as well as a more pervasive public enthusiasm for far-flung outposts of loyalty in blockaded Britain. The uncharacteristically rapid response in subscription fiction to this new mode was evidently aided by clienteles eager to investigate and promote their own localities: the anonymous Silvanella (1812: Entry 73), for example, with a heavy concentration of subscribers in the region of Stroud, grafts Gloucestershire ‘manners’ (including dialect speech) on to the common stock of the sentimental novel. The relatively heavy crop of moral religious novels found in the last two decades likewise must have benefited from the development of other kinds of subscription within evangelical groups, often consisting primarily of middle-class women, as in support of shorter didactic tracts or good works generally.  A broad shift in the ideological climate is also evident in an increasing tendency among subscription novelists (particularly women) to foreground religious credentials: the Preface to Roche’s Contrast, for example, is insistent on its author’s intention ‘to inculcate, under a pleasing form, pure morality’.
It has only been possible in this account to skim the surface of the materials to hand, though hopefully enough has been glimpsed at to suggest a fuller potential. While our knowledge of the authorship, production, and distribution of novels during the period in view has advanced usefully in recent years, the nature of reading audiences is still something of a grey area. If, as Maurice Couturier has stated, ‘It is not yet possible to draw a reliable picture of the novel-reading public [in the eighteenth century]’,  how much more of a puzzle is presented by the diverse and shifting audiences of the British Romantic period.  It is hoped that the following Checklist will throw some further light on the sponsorship of fiction and its readers, especially in the neglected years early in the nineteenth century. With the online publication of British Fiction, 1800–1829: A Database of Production, Circulation and Reception History, as being developed in the Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research at Cardiff, and scheduled for release in Autumn 2004, researchers will also have access to full transcriptions of all seventy lists discovered from 1800 as presently digested in the Checklist below.
SUBSCRIPTION FICTION, 1780–1829: A CHECKLIST
Each entry there begins with details of title, authorship and imprint, based on actual title-pages, albeit with an element of standardisation (e.g. publisher’s addresses are usually omitted). In bold is then given a breakdown of the lists, in the following order: number of male subscribers (M); number of female subscribers (F); gender-unidentifed subscribers (U); sum total of subscriptions (S); additional copies (A); total number of copies subscribed (T). This line is completed with the name of the holding library where the copy was seen (BL for British Library, and so on). Three separate lines after this then record: i) main locations of subscribers as evident or inferable from the lists; ii) the social composition of the lists, again insofar as this can be deduced; iii) an indication of type (say Gothic or Sentimental), and, where relevant, special features (such as reference to the French Revolution). After this a general Notes field gives details concerning prefatory matter, the positioning of the lists, etc., on an optional basis. Entries are concluded, where appropriate, with information concerning in-period further editions published in mainland Britain.
(1) Burton-Wood:In a Series of Letters, by
a Lady [Anna Maria Mackenzie], 2 vols, London (Printed for the author,
by W. Flexney, Holborn), 1783.
M127 F85 S212 A37 T249. Bristol.
London (inner City, Islington, West Ham); Home counties; North England.
Military, professional, trade (1 Distiller).
Moral sentimental; epistolary; digressions on British liberty, military virtues, female education (semi-apologetically).
‘To the Subscribers of Burton-Wood’, 7pp. end of vol. 1, defends novel as means of promoting virtue.
(2) Maria: A Novel, by the author of George
Bateman [Elizabeth Blower], 2 vols, London (T. Cadell in the Strand),
M165 F91 S256 A57 T313. Bristol.
No locations, presumably London.
31 titled; literary and theatrical.
Domestic sentimental melodrama, with older-style satirical elements.
Dedication to the Honourable Mrs Ward, stating design to ‘inculcate the principle of Active Benevolence’, signed St James’s Place, 10 May 1785. Subscribers inc: Richard Cumberland, Charles Macklin [actor], Mr [Samuel Jackson] Pratt, Sir Joshua Reynolds, R. B. Sheridan, Josiah Wedgwood.
(3) St. Bernard’s Priory: An Old English Tale,
being the first literary production of a young lady [Martha Hugell],
1 vol., London (Printed for authoress, and sold at Swift’s Circulating
M53 F76 U1 S130 A18 T148. BL.
No locations, presumably London.
No high-ranking nobility; one-third ‘Miss’.
Sentimental historical, touches of Walpole’s Castle of Otranto.
Dedication to the Duchess of Devonshire (to whom she is ‘personally unknown’), signed No 25 Duke Street, St James’s, 1 May 1786. Large format, with ‘Price 3s’ on title-page. Mr Swift takes 6 copies.
Further edn: 1789 as Priory of St Bernard, 2 vols, Minerva Press.
(4) The History of Lady Caroline Rivers, in a
Series of Letters, by Miss Elizabeth Todd, 2 vols, London (Printed
for the author), 1788.
M76 F69 S/T145. BL.
Predominantly London, with strong Westminster contingent, also fashionable squares.
Prince of Wales and Duke of York head list; smattering of aristocrats; well-placed commoners; 3 Admirals.
Burneyesque sentimental comedy, aristocratic characters; epistolary.
Prefatory ‘To the Ladies’, begging indulgence towards a 17-year old author, signed No. 21, Queen Street, Westminster. Subscribers inc. ‘Miss Burney, Queen’s Palace’.
(5) Eleonora, a Novel, in a Series of Letters,
written by a female inhabitant of Leeds in Yorkshire [Mrs Ann
Gomersall], 2 vols, London (Printed for the authoress, by the Literary
Society and the Logographic Press, and sold by J. Walter; and W. Richardson),
M83 F101 U33 S217 A5 T222. BL.
70 London and suburban; South and South West (ports); Leeds area; Jamaica contingent.
Middle class professional and presumably also trade; titled and some literary women.
Social domestic epistolary (wide class spectrum); pro-mercantile; scenes from Leeds.
Dedication to Viscountess Irwin of Temple Newsam, Yorkshire.
(6) The Son of Ethelwolf: An Historical Tale,
by the author of Alan Fitz-Osborne [Anne Fuller], 2 vols, London (Printed
for G. G. J. and J. Robinson), 1789.
M297 F271 S568 A180 T748. Bristol.
Locations only infrequently (London, Bath, Hotwells, Ireland).
86 aristocrats (several Irish titles); 50 military; 26 clergy.
Dramatic sentimental historical.
Dedication to His Royal Highness, George Prince of Wales. Subscribers inc: Mrs Crespigny; Master of Ceremonies at Bath; Miss Gunning.
Further edn: 1800.
(7) The Citizen, a Novel, by Mrs [Ann] Gomersall
of Leeds, author of Eleanora, 2 vols, London (Printed for Scatcherd
& Whitaker; and sold by Binns, Leeds, and Edwards and Son, Halifax),
M98 F112 U37 S/T247. BL.
London suburban; Home counties; Leeds and Whitby; Jamaica contingent.
Minimal aristocratic: presumably fair component professional and trade.
Social domestic epistolary; pro-mercantile.
Dedication to Right Honourable Viscountess Irwin.
(8) The History of Miss Meredith; a Novel,
by Mrs [Eliza] Parsons, 2 vols, London (Printed for the author, and
sold by T. Hookham), 1790.
M160 F285 S445 A118 T563. BL.
London West End; Surrey; East Anglia; Wessex.
High aristocratic (headed Prince of Wales and royal Dukes); Oxbridge contingent; female literary.
Moral sentimental genteel: twin female correspondents marry unhappily.
Preface gives address as No. 15, East-place, Lambeth. Subscribers inc: Mrs Bonhote, Bungay, Suffolk; Miss Harriet Bowdler, Bath; Mrs Crespigny, Camberwell, 6 copies.
Further edn: 2nd edn, 1790.
(9) The History of Georgina Neville; or, the Disinterested
Orphan: A Novel, being the first literary attempt of a young lady,
2 vols, London (Printed for the authoress: sold by T. Hookham; and J.
M79 F143 S222 A4 T226. BL.
London West End; small NW England element.
Headed 8 Dukes/Duchesses; high proportion female aristocrats.
Moral sentimental genteel (well-bred heroine, destitute, has notion of funding herself by playing guitar!).
Dedication, ‘with permission’, to the Hon Lady Warren: stresses the potential usefulness of novel of manners as an ‘inducement to virtue’. Adv. for Hookham’s Circulating Library, Old Bond Street, on last page. BL copy (12611.c.27) has book plate of Viscountess Bulkeley (one of the subscribers).
(10) The Sword; or, Father Bertrand’s History
of his Own Times, from the Original Manuscript, by Eliza Clarke
[afterwards Cobbold], 2 vols, Liverpool (Printed for the author by A.
Smith, and sold by R. Faulder, London), 1791.
M216 F44 U2 S262 A62 T324. Bristol.
Liverpool; East Anglia (mostly Ipswich); London.
Professional men (medical, mercantile); clergy; middle-rank military.
Historical-sentimental, antiquarian (12th-century Norman times).
Subscribers inc: Warren Hastings, Esq., London; William Roscoe, Esq., Liverpool.
(11) Orwell Manor: A Novel, by Mary Elizabeth
Parker, 3 vols, London (Printed for the author, at the Minerva Press),
M118 F60 S178 A45 T223. BL.
London; Sussex; English provincial.
Minor aristocracy and gentry; Surrey militia.
Sentimental domestic, shades of Gothic (discounted).
(12) The Traditions, a Legendary Tale, written
by a young lady [Mary Martha Butt, afterwards Sherwood], 2 vols, London
(Printed for William Lane, Minerva), 1795.
M347 F390 U3 S740 A199 T939. Yale.
Berkshire; West Midlands; London.
Nobility and gentry; clergy; militia officers; 49 Oxford fellows; 11 MPs; high proportion ‘Miss’.
Historical (English medieval) sentimental, with Radcliffean Gothic elements.
Prefatory statement from Mr St Quentin, thanking the author and subscribers, dated Hans Place, Brompton, 10 May 1795. Subscribers inc: Miss Austen, Steventon, near Overton; [Richard] Lovell Edgeworth, Esq., Edgeworth’s-town; James Mill, Esq; Miss Mitford, Reading; Miss Seward, Lichfield.
Further edn: 1796 (no list).
(13) Camilla: or, a Picture of Youth, by the
author Evelina and Cecilia [Frances d’Arblay, née Burney], 6 vols, London
(Printed for T. Payne; and T. Cadell jun. and W. Davies), 1796.
M431 F609 U18 S1058 A136 T1194. Bristol.
London (16 only named); Home Counties (69); East Anglia (29); Midlands (25); Wessex (19); North of England (17); Scotland, Ireland, Wales (15).
Wide band of nobility and gentry (headed Duchess of York and Duke of Gloucester); official postholders; clergy; book societies; high proportion women subscribing singly.
Moral social comedy (broadly non-political).
Dedication to the Queen, signed F. d’Arblay, Bookham, 28 June 1796. Subscribers inc: Edmund Burke (5 sets); James Beattie; George Canning; Miss Edgeworth; Warren Hastings; Thomas Holcroft; Miss [Sophia] Lee and Miss Harriet Lee; Hannah More; ‘Miss J. Austen, Steventon’.
Further edn: 1802 (altered, no list).
(14) The Contradiction, by the Rev. William
Cole, 1 vol., London (Printed for T. Cadell, jun., and W. Davies), 1796.
M162 F75 S237 A38 T275. Bristol.
Gentry and clergy; female subscribers usually part of family clusters.
Moral and literary in flavour; shades of Tristram Shandy.
(15) The Creole; or, the Haunted Island, by
S[amuel James] Arnold, 3 vols, London (Printed for C. Law; Hookham;
and Bell), 1796.
M91 F38 S129 A121 T250. BL.
Central London; SE England; Glasgow contingent.
Professional and naval.
Primitivist fable, with philosophical touches.
Preface signed Duke Street, Westminster, Sept 1796. Additional copies inflated by Mr Greenhill, Gracechurch-street (100 copies).
(16) Memoirs of the Princess of Zell, Consort
to King George the First, [by Sarah Draper], 2 vols, London (Printed
for the author, by William Lane, at the Minerva Press), 1796.
M108 F169 U3 S280 A43 T323. BL.
City of London and suburbs; Hertfordshire; East Anglia (16 Ely, largely ecclesiastical).
Minor professional; presumably tradespeople (one grocer’s daughter).
Fictionalised monarchist royal memoirs.
Dedication to Her Serene Highness, the Margravine of Brandenbourg Anspach, signed Sarah Draper, Hammersmith. ‘To the Reader’ disclaims any political intention or direct contemporary reference.
(17) The Mystery of the Black Tower, a Romance,
by John Palmer, jun., author of The Haunted Cavern, 2 vols, London (Printed
for the author, by William Lane, at the Minerva-Press), 1796.
M82 F33 S115 A4 T119. Yale.
London theatres (31 Drury Lane, 6 Covent Garden); London residential addresses.
Actors and actresses, some well-known; theatre-goers?
Gothic horror romance.
(18) Woodland Cottage: A Novel, 2 vols, London
(Printed for Hookham and Carpenter), 1796.
M128 F179 S307 A43 T350. BL.
Most without locations (presumably London); Portsmouth element; some Scots.
120 aristocrats (many ‘Hon’ female); 35 military (high-ranking).
Sentimental domestic; beau monde versus country virtues.
Dedication to Right Hon. Lady Elizabeth Drummond, stressing author’s gratitude, diffidence before the Public with her ‘first essay’, and family’s ‘pecuniary distress’. Subscribers inc. Mrs Crespigny.
(19) Charles Dacre: or, the Voluntary Exile: An
Historical Novel, Founded on Facts, 2 vols, Edinburgh (Printed
by John Moir), 1797.
M15 F17 S/T32. BL.
19 aristocrats (Duke of Buccleuch and family prominent); 13 commoners (one Writer to the Signet).
Picaresque adventures, male sentimentalism; disappointed hero retreats to Switzerland.
‘Address to the Reader’ states author’s inexperience, and claims that friend prevailed on him to publish.
(20) Clara Lennox; or, the Distressed Widow: A
Novel, Founded on Facts, Interspersed with an Historical Description
of the Isle of Man, by Mrs [Margaret] Lee, 2 vols, London (Printed
for the authoress, by J. Adlard; and sold by J. Parsons), .
M0 F68 S/T68. BL.
No locations, presumably Court.
Aristocratic female (headed Princes of Wales and Duchess of York): high proportion in other lists.
Sentimental moralistic (effusively pro-virtue); epistolary.
Dedication, ‘by permission’, to the Duchess of York.
Further edn: 2nd edn, 1797.
(21) Munster Abbey, a Romance: Interspersed with
Reflection on Virtue and Morality, written by Sir Samuel Egerton
Leigh, 3 vols, Edinburgh (Printed by John Moir: for W Creech; Hookham
and Carpentar [sic], [and] Vernor and Hood, London), 1797.
M841 F376 S1217 A279 T1496. BL.
London 617 (high density West End squares); 333 Scotland (ibid., Edinburgh New Town).
Aristocracy and baronetcy; senior military; 37 MPs (inc. William Wilberforce); professional.
Moral domestic; virtue rewarded, after some anxieties.
Dedication (by the author) to Duchess of Marlborough. List co-headed the Duchess and ‘His Royal Highness Monsieur, Holyroodhouse’.
(22) Edgar; or, the Phantom of the Castle: A Novel,
by R[ichard] Sickelmore, 2 vols, London (Printed at the Minerva-Press,
for William Lane), 1798.
M57 F9 S/T66. Corvey.
No locations, presumably Brighton (see Preface).
Largely male untitled; 3 females share author’s surname.
Routine Minerva Gothic.
(23) Heaven’s Best Gift: A Novel, by Mrs Lucius
Phillips, a near relation to Major General Phillips, 3 vols, London
(Printed for the author, and sold by W. Miller; and Lloyd), .
M31 F53 S/T84. Corvey.
Large aristocratic element (56 titled, including ‘Lady’).
Sentimental domestic; pecuniary worries passim.
(24) Ianthé, or the Flower of Caernarvon, a Novel,
dedicated by permission to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, by
Emily Clark, grand-daughter of the late Colonel Frederick, son of Theodore,
King of Corsica, 2 vols, London (Printed for the author; and sold by
Hookham and Carpenter), 1798.
M106 F90 U1 S197 A74 T271. BL; Corvey lacks list.
No locations, apart from Oporto (c. 30); but presumably London.
Royal princes head list; mixed bag follow.
Domestic sentimental (‘poor Willoughby’ proves a deceiver!).
(25) Mort Castle: A Gothic Story, 1 vol.,
London (Printed for the author; sold by J. Wallis), .
M32 F41 S73 A14 T87. BL.
Court aristocracy, headed Princess of Wales; 28 male commoners follow 19 female ones.
High Gothic terror.
Dedication, unusually effusive, to Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York. Subscribers inc. R. B. Sheridan, Esq., MP.
(26) The Rock; or, Alfred and Anna: A Scottish
Tale, by a young Lady [Mrs Barnby], her first literary attempt,
2 vols, London (Printed for the author, and sold by Lee and Hurst; Harding),
M60 F44 S104 A6 T110. BL.
Primarily Mr and Mrs (no aristocrats); occasional army officer.
Historical-sentimental, Scottish medieval (lost manuscript).
Further edn: 2nd edn, 1799 (Corvey, with list).
(27) A Welsh Story, [by Mary Barker], 3 vols,
London (Hookham and Carpenter), 1798.
M75 F89 S164 A11 T175. Cardiff City Library.
London (West End); Bath (4 booksellers); Midlands (Stafford or near); Wales (mainly S. Glamorgan); Ireland (Dublin and Newry).
Middling aristocratic (but headed Duke and Duchess of York); gentry and professional.
Sentimental domestic; country setting.
Dedication to the Duchess of York, signed Mary Barker.
(28) Eva: A Novel, dedicated by permission
to Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Gloucester, by Isabella Kelly [afterwards
Hedgeland], author of Madeline, Abbey of St. Asaph, Avondale Priory,
&c., 3 vols, London (Printed at the Minerva-Press, for William Lane),
M36 F33 S/T69. Corvey.
No locations, presumably Court.
Female aristocrats (inc. Duchess of York); military; 26 plain Mr(s)/Miss.
Sentimental melodrama, virtuous aristocrats rewarded; post-Revolutionary incidents.
(29) The Force of Prejudice, a Moral Tale,
[by Joseph Wildman], 2 vols, London (Printed by J. Barfield, for the
author, and to be had of him, No 18, West-Street, Soho), 1799.
M273 F476 S/T749. Bristol.
545 locations, of which 533 London residential addresses (West End, Bloomsbury, Finsbury etc.).
In-town aristocracy; 25 MPs; military and professional.
Moral sentimental domestic: the bereft find security.
Dedication to Lady Howard, signed Joseph Wildman, West-Street, Soho, 19 Dec 1799. ‘Advertisement to the Reader’, also dated 19 Dec 1799, apologises for mistakes made in haste to complete. Another notice, dated 25 March 1800 (following supplementary list dated the same) apologises for late delivery, blaming the increased price of paper; 250 sets remain unsold, and the list will remain open for a while longer.
Further edn: 1800 (BL 1507/854 has MS additions to subscribers).
(30) He Deceives Himself: A Domestic Tale,
by Marianne Chambers, daughter of the late Mr. Charles Chambers, many
years in the service of the Hon. East-India Company, and unfortunately
lost in the Winterton, 3 vols, London (Printed for C. Dilly),1799.
M91 F102 S193 A14 T207. BL.
London (city addresses, and south of the river); West Country (chiefly Bristol).
Merchant navy (21 Captain, only 1 RN); minor professional and trade.
Moral sentimental domestic; anti fashionable world.
Dedication to Mr Thomas Powell, of Bristol (her grandfather).
(31) The Heiress di Montalde; or, the Castle of
Bezanto: A Novel, by Mrs. Anne Ker, 2 vols, London (Printed
for the author, and sold by Earle and Hemet), 1799.
M9 F43 S52 A3 T55. BL.
Female aristocratic sponsorship (10 titled or ‘Lady’), headed Duchess of Gloucester.
Dedicated, by permission , to her Royal Highness the Princess Augusta Sophia (t.p. and dedication). Preliminaries include Notice, thanking ‘the Nobility, Gentry, and the Public in general, who have honoured her first publication’, and announcing her Adeline St. Julian, to be published in November.
(32) Wareham Priory; or, the Will: A Novel,
Founded on Facts, by the Widow of an Officer [?Mrs Adams], 2 vols,
London (Published by J. Barker), 1799.
M147 F138 U2 S/T287. Bristol.
Essex; London; Kent; Hull; Liverpool.
Army and navy; militia; country gentry.
Moral domestic; old-fashioned epistolary.
Subscribers inc: Edward Austen, Esq.; Mrs E. Austen; Mrs Knight, Canterbury.
(33) Constantia Neville; or, the West Indian:
A Novel, by Helena Wells, author of “The Step-Mother,” &c, 3
vols, London (Printed by C. Whittingham, for T. Cadell, jun. and W.
Davies; and W. Creech, Edinburgh), 1800.
M188 F187 U4 S379 A60. T439. BL.
South London surburban; Scotland; English towns.
Professional; colonial trade and military; some Americans.
Moral domestic; post-Revolutionary feminist elements.
Preface dated Little Park-Street, Westminster, 15 Apr 1800. Main ‘List of Subscribers’ (as totalled above) followed by ‘Subscribers on the Continent’ (13 ‘Berlin’ names, 28 more ‘At Hamburgh’), and ‘Subscribers in Charleston, South Carolina’ (55 listed). Additional copies purchased by those 96 extra subscribers amount to 23, making overall totals of 475 subscribers and 558 copies.
Further edn: 2nd edn 1800 (Corvey, no list).
(34) Edwardina, a Novel: Dedicated to Mrs.
Souter Johnston, by Catherine Harris, 2 vols, London (Printed for the
author, at the Minerva-Press, by William Lane), 1800.
M24 F36 S/T60. Corvey.
London residential; English provincial.
Male military (3 Generals); respectable female.
Sentimental domestic; epistolary.
Dedication (effusively sentimental) to Mrs Souter Johnson.
(35) Eliza, a Novel, by Mrs. Yeates, Daughter
of the late Holland Cooksey, Esq. of Braces Leigh, in the county of
Worcester, 2 vols, Lambeth (Printed and published by S. Tibson; and
sold by C. Chapple, Pall-Mall; J. and E. Kerby; J. Lee; and West and
M69½ F53½ U2 S125 A50 T175. Corvey.
Worcestershire; London (West End); Oxford.
Country gentry; Master of the Rolls and 3 MPs.
Dedication ‘to the amiable and humane Mrs. Bland, of Ham-Court in the County of Worcester’. Includes rare instance of husband and wife joint subscription (‘Mackaughland, Col. and Mrs.’).
(36) Elliott: or, Vicissitudes of Early Life,
by a Lady [Mrs Burke], 2 vols, London (Printed and published by Geo.
Cawthorn, Bookseller to Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales; sold
also by Messrs. Richardson; H. D. Symonds, J. Wallis West and Hughes;
and J. Wright), 1800.
M70 F144 S215 A36 T251. Corvey.
London residential; North Wales; English provincial; Edinburgh cluster (at end).
Aristocracy (headed Duke of Gloucester and Scottish Argyll family); country gentry; Edinburgh polite.
Sentimental domestic melodrama.
Last item ‘Messrs. Manners and Millar, Parliament-square, Edinburgh, 6 sets’.
(37) Ermina Montrose; or, the Cottage of the Vale,
with Characters from Life, by Emily Clark, grand-daughter of the
late Colonel Frederick, and author of “Ianthe; or, the Flower of Caernarvon”,
3 vols, London (Printed for the author, and sold by James Wallis), 1800.
M66 F43 S109 A48 T157. Corvey.
Mixed bag generally.
High sentimental domestic: tribulations of heroine.
Dedication to the Right Honorable Countess of Shaftesbury, signed Emily Clark, No 4, Cockspur-street, Haymarket.Subscribers inc. Maria Edgeworth (20 copies).
(38) Idalia: A Novel, Founded on Facts,
2 vols, London (Printed for the author, at the Minerva-Press), 1800.
M71 F76 S147 A123 T270. Corvey.
Unaristocratic; occasional Revd/middle rank officer.
Routine Minerva domestic sentimental; epistolary.
(39) Julia St. Helen; or, the Heiress of Ellisborough:
A Novel, published by Sarah Cobbe, Relict of the Rev. Richard Chaloner
Cobbe, Rector of Bradenham in Buckinghamshire, and Chaplain to the Right
Honourable The Earl of Moira, 2 vols, London (Printed by J. Nichols;
sold by Earle and Hemet), 1800.
M149 F254 U6 S409 A21 T430. BL.
Headed Prince of Wales; aristocracy and gentry; clergy; 2 book clubs.
Sentimental domestic; orphan heroine and London incidents.
Dedication to ‘the Right Honourable the Earl of Moira, Baron Rawdon’, dated 15 June 1800. Adv. for ‘Original French and English Circulating Library, W. Earle’ after list. Subscribers inc. Mrs Crespigny.
(40) The School for Fashion, by Mrs. [Ann]
Thicknesse, 2 vols, London (Printed by H. Reynell, for Debrett and Fores;
Hookham; and Robinsons), 1800.
28M 16F S44 A10 T54. Yale.
High society (headed Duchess of Marlborough and Duke of Buccleuch); also the ubiquitous Mrs Crespigny.
Fashionable novel à clef.
‘Dedication. To Fashion’, signed ‘A. T.’. Frontispiece portrait of ‘Mrs Thickness’, opp. t.p. in vol. 1; similar portrait of ‘Philp. Thickness Esq’ opp. t.p. in vol. 2. Subscribers inc. Mrs Crespigny.
(41) The Castle of Villeroy, a Romance, by
Frances Mary Mills, 1 vol., London (Printed by D. N. Shury; and sold
by T. Hurst), 1801.
M93 F174 U1 S268 A72 T340. Corvey.
No locations, but presumably London and environs.
Titled aristocracy (including Duchess of Marlborough); repectable society (the Crespignys en bloc).
Radcliffian sentimental Gothic.
‘Dedication to the Subscribers’, signed 14, Blenham’s Buildings, Camberwell; this gives drastically changed fortunes and ‘the pressure of adversity alone’ as motivation. Subscribers inc. Mrs Crespigny (8 copies). BL has a variant copy (C.192.a.219) bearing the imprint of J. Skirven, Ratcliff-Highway, but otherwise identical (includes list).
(42) Ruthinglenne, or the Critical Moment: A Novel;
dedicated, by permission, to Lady Dalling, by Isabella Kelly, author
of Madeline, Abbey of St. Asaph, Avondale Priory, Eva, &c. &c.,
3 vols, London (Printed at the Minerva-Press, for William Lane), 1801.
M28 F35 S/T63. Corvey.
Flecked with upper-crust names.
Sentimental domestic à la Charlotte Smith; North of England setting, ancient abbey.
Dedication to Lady Dalling, thanking her for her patronage and alluding to the author’s family misfortunes. Subscribers inc: Mrs Crespigny, Duchess of Gloucester, M. G. Lewis, Duchess of York (last entry, under York).
(43) St. Mary’s Abbey: A Novel, by an officer
in the British Militia, 2 vols, Chelmsford (Printed for the author,
by R. C. Stanes, and Co.), 1801.
72M 27F 1U S/T100. Corvey.
No locations, but most probably in region of Chelmsford (see imprint), warding off Napoleon!
Minor aristocracy; 42 militia offficers (mostly Royal Bucks); female commoners.
Historical-sentimental: 2 female cousins escaping persecutions of Henry VIII (Children of the Abbey spin-off?).
(44) The Bride’s Embrace on the Grave; or, the
Midnight Wedding in the Church of Mariengarten: Taken from the German
[of Ignaz Ferdinand Arnold], by Maria Geisweiler, 2 vols, London (Printed
by G. Sidney; for Constantine Geisweiler), 1802.
M69 F90 U2 S161 A103 T264. BL.
London (West End and Central); Kent; Glasgow.
Headed Princess of Wales, Duchess of York, Duke of Cumberland; smattering aristocrats; booksellers.
Trans. of Der Brautkuß auf dem Grabe, oder die Trauung um Mitternacht in der Kirche zu Mariengarten (Rudolstadt/Arnstadt, 1801).
Notice by the author, dated 20 Mar 1802, in which she apologizes ‘for the delay in publication; owing to some very unpleasant occurrences at the printing-office where it was first began, and from which it was necessary to remove it to another for its completion’. The author was the wife of Constantine Geisweiler, a bookseller specialising in German books in London: see also Entry 84.
(45) Celina; or, the Widowed Bride: A Novel, Founded
on Facts, by Sarah Ann Hook, 3 vols, London (Printed for the author,
and sold No. 14, Warwick Court, Holborn. A. Paris, Printer, Rolls’ Buildings),
M112 F77 S189 A31 T220. Urbana.
NW England (Lancaster prominent); Staffordshire; other English towns; London and Bath.
Middle ranks (clergymen, military, country gentry, probably tradespeople). Females listed first alphabetically.
Sentimental domestic melodrama.
‘Humbly Dedicated to the Public’.
Further edn: 1803 as The Widowed Bride, or Celina (Corvey—a reissue by Lane and Newman; but no list).
(46) The Rules of the Forest, by Susanna Oakes,
3 vols, Derby (Printed by J. Drewry, and sold by all Booksellers in
the three Kingdoms), .
M56 F36 S92 A20? T112?. Corvey.
Full ‘neighbourhood’ spectrum (Duchess of Devonshire, country gentry; town-dwellers).
Sentimental pastoral domestic; some ‘high life’ characters.
Frontispiece depicts the authoress as ‘keeper of the circulating library at Ashborne in the County of Derby’. ‘Advertisement’ at the end vol. 1 offers an apology for ‘the repeated delays during the process of the foregoing pages’, and promises that the remaining vols will be ‘brought forward as expeditiously as possible’. List of ‘Subscribers Names’ (4pp. unn.) at the beginning of vol. 3; sums donated (most commonly 10s 6d) range from £5 to 5s. Vol. 3 t.p. is dated 1802. Novel proper ends on p. 462, followed by a final ‘Advertisement’ stating that the length of the final vol., and expence on paper, has necessitated raising the price: ‘First Subscriptions, 10s. 6d.—with additions, 13s. 6d.’.
(47) the Cave of Cosenza: A Romance of the Eighteenth
Century; altered from the Italian, by Eliza Nugent Bromley, author
of Laura and Augustus; dedicated, by permission, to his Royal Highness
the Duke of York, 2 vols, London (Printed by W. Calvert; for G. and
J. Robinson; and Hookham and Ebers), 1803.
M75 F33 S108 A31 T139. Corvey.
London residential; English provincial.
Aristocratic (headed royal dukes and Duchess of York); military.
Dedication, dated London, Dec 1803, presents author ‘as an officer’s widow, [and] as a lineal descendant of soldiers’.
(48) Kerwald Castle, or, Memoirs of the Marquis
de Solanges: Translated from the French [of Jean-Auguste Jullien],
by Mrs. Barnby, author of The Rock; or, Alfred and Anna: A Scottish
Tale, 2 vols, Maidstone (Printed for the author by D. Chalmers, and
sold by Wilkie, Symonds, and Hurst, Paternoster Row, London), .
M141 F39 U6 S186 A6 T192. BL.
Maidstone; Kent; Essex; Norfolk.
Townspeople of Maidstone (1 wine-merchant); miltary personnel (depôt at Maidstone); 2 book societies.
Pre-revolutionary France; epistolary.
Trans. of Mémoires du Marquis de Solanges (Amsterdam, 1766).
Further edn: 1804 (Corvey—a Minerva reissue, but no list).
(49) Miranda; or, the Mysterious Stranger: A Novel;
dedicated, by permission, to the Rt. Hon. Viscountess Bulkeley, by Esther
Holsten, author of “Ernestina”, 2 vols, London (Printed by J. Cundee,
for M. Jones), 1803.
M66 F61 S127 A18 T145. Corvey.
London and suburban (Cheapside, Whitechapel; Lambeth, Kennington).
Headed Duchess of York and Duke of Cumberland: mostly untitled follow (4 Dr).
Sentimental domestic: imperilled heroine.
Dedication effusively acknowledges ‘high patronage’.
(50) The Mysterious Count; or, Montville Castle:
A Romance, by Anne Ker, 2 vols, London (Printed by D. N.
Shury, for the Author, and sold by Crosby and Co.), 1803.
M5 F23 S28 A2 T30. Corvey.
High aristocratic female (headed Princess of Wales); 14 untitled follow.
Sentimental melodrama, with some Radcliffean terror elements; pre-Revolutionary France.
(51) Casualties: A Novel, by Mary Goldsmith,
author of The Comedy entitled She Lives! or, The Generous Brother, 2
vols, London (Printed by Roden and Lewis; for T. Hughes; and sold by
Jordan Hookham; Harding; Lloyd; and J. Ridgeway), 1804.
M6 F21 ST27 A3 T30. BL; Corvey lacks list.
High aristocratic female (headed Duchess of Devonshire), followed by 10 commoners (women first).
Moral sentimental domestic.
Dedication to the Honorable Mrs A. M. Egerton. T.p. carries the following statement: ‘No Subterranean Caverns—Haunted Castles—Enchanted Forests—Fearful Visions—Mysterious Voices—Supernatural Agents—Bloody Daggers—Dead Men’s Skulls—Mangled Bodies—Nor Marvellous Lights, form any Part of the present Work; but will be found, on Perusal, to arise out of Natural Incidents.’
(52) Galerio and Nerissa, including Original Correspondence,
the History of an English Nobleman and Lady; several Poetical Effusions,
and a Few Domestic Anecdotes, [by John Gale Jones], 1 vol., London
(Printed for the author, and sold by Messrs. Jordan and Maxwell),1804.
M146 F16 S162 A34 T196. BL.
London residential (Soho, Chelsea, Bloomsbury, Strand etc.); 3 Americans.
Professional (medical, naval administrative); trade (2 coachmakers, 1 engraver, 1 linen draper).
‘Price four shillings in boards’ on t.p.
(53) The Adventures of Cooroo, a Native of The
Pellew Islands, by C. D. L. Lambert, 1 vol., Norwich (Printed and
sold by Stevenson and Matchett; sold also by Scatcherd and Letterman,London,
and all other Booksellers), .
M67 F14 U4 S85 A1 T86. BL; Corvey lacks list.
Presumably local Norwich; one London address.
Smattering of minor aristocracy; predominantly Esq. and Mr; 3 book clubs.
Trans-cultural satire: Cooroo in England.
Dedication to Lady Harriet Berney.
(54) Delmore, or Modern Friendship: A Novel,
by Mrs. [D.] Roberts, 3 vols, London (Printed for the author, and sold
by R. Faulder), 1806.
M79 F30 S109 A1 T110. Corvey.
(Whig?) aristocracy (headed Princes of Wales and Duchess of York); 13 MPs.
Domestic moral; fashionable characters.
Dedication to the Princess of Wales, expressing ‘vast debt of obligation’, signed D. Roberts, Clarence Place. Subscribers inc. ‘Mrs. Opie’. ‘Additional Subscribers’ (7 more names, included above) at end of vol. 3.
Further edn: 1809.
(55) The Strangers; a Novel, by Mrs. Norris,
author of Second Love, &c., 3 vols, London (Printed by W. Glendinning;
and published for the Author, by Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe), 1806.
M110 F131 S241 A16 T257. Urbana.
About 20% Irish (places or militia affiliations); remainder without locations.
Military; some East India men; English sponsors (inc. Duchess of Devonshire).
Moral social domestic.
‘To The Reader’, dated London, Apr 1806: this states that the Duchess of Devonshire had accepted the dedication, before her recent death; it also describes the author as being separated ‘from her native country, and consequently from friends and connections’ (p. vi).
Further edn: 1807 as Olivia and Marcella; or, the Strangers (Corvey—a reissue by B. Crosby and Co., without list).
(56) The Thatched Cottage; or, Sorrows of Eugenia:
a Novel, by Sarah [Scudgell] Wilkinson, 2 vols, London (Printed
for T. Hughes, by Dewick & Clarke), 1806.
M59 F95 S154 A40 T194. Corvey.
Royal princesses (4, along with Margravine of Anspach, head list); court and circle.
Sentimental domestic; aristocratic figures.
Dedication to ‘Mrs. [Isabella?] Fielding’, signed 10, William-Street, Pimlico, thanking her for ‘reiterated favours’. Subscribers inc. Lady Crespigny, Lady Mary Coke, Earl of Pomfret, and ‘Mr. Scadgell’.
(57) Helen; or Domestic Occurrences: A Tale,
[by Augusta Ann Hirst], 2 vols, London (Printed for the author: sold
by W. Bent), 1807.
M 270 F296 U2 S568 A140 T708. Bodleian.
Sheffield and North East; London; English provincial.
Middle ranks (high proportion Mr/Mrs/Miss); 6 aristocrats only (inc. Countess Fitzwilliam).
Sentimental domestic; epistolary.
Dedication to Countess Fitzwilliam’, signed Augusta Ann Hirst, London, 6 Apr 1807.
Further edn: 1808 (Corvey—a reissue by the Minerva Press with the author’s name on t.p., but no list).
(58) The Mysterious Wanderer: A Novel; dedicated,
by permission, to the Right Hon. Lady Elizabeth Spencer, by Sophia Reeve,
3 vols, London (Printed for the author, by C. Spilsbury; and sold by
Richardson and Son; J. Highley; and Didier and Tebbett), 1807.
M142 F61 U1 S204 A14 T218. Harvard.
No locations, but Norfolk preponderance likely.
Spencer family; minor aristocracy and gentry; c. 50 Esq.; otherwise Mr/Mrs/Miss common.
Fashionable sentimental melodrama.
‘Advertisement’, dated 1 Feb 1807. Dedication to Lady Elizabeth Spencer. Book-Club, Norwich, subscribes.
(59) A Peep at our Ancestors: An Historical Romance,
by Henrietta Rouviere [afterwards Mosse], author of Lussington Abbey,
Heirs of Villeroy, &c, 4 vols, London (Printed at the Minerva-Press,
for Lane, Newman, and Co.), 1807.
M38 F8 S/T46. Corvey.
Dublin and Irish towns; London polite residential.
Irish aristocratic; 5 MPs Dublin; professional and commerce?
Historical (12th-century England).
Frontispiece portrait of the author. Dedication to ‘His Grace the late Duke of Leinster’, dated London, 1 Oct 1807. ‘Address’ states that the work intended originally to have appeared (in Dublin) ‘by subscription’ in Feb 1805, but was deferred through the the death of Duke of Leinster then of the author’s mother; the Dublin sponsors had proved better at promises than execution, and the present names are from ‘her own private list that she personally received here, and which she thinks necessary to subjoin’.
(60) Alzylia, a Novel, [by Miss Weimar], 4
vols, London (Printed for the author, by T. Collins; and published by
C. Chapple), 1808.
M49 F52 S/T101. BL.
Minor aristocracy and respectable middle rank (5 MPs, 6 Revds).
Sentimental domestic: highly coloured writing.
(61) Artless Tales: by Mrs. Ives Hurry [née
Margaret Mitchell], 3 vols, London (Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees,
and Orme), 1808.
M126 F195 S321 A115 T436. Corvey.
Hackney; Clapham; East Anglia; Liverpool.
Middle class; 12 Revd; high proportion of ‘Mrs’ (alone).
Moral domestic, partly in the manner of Amelia Opie (one of the subscribers).
(62) The British Admiral: A Novel, by A Naval
Officer [Lieut Arnold], London (Printed at the Minerva-Press, for Lane,
Newman, and Co.), 1808.
M21 F3 S/T24. Corvey.
Princess of Wales; the royal Dukes; leading nobility; Covent Garden actors and actresses; also ‘Mr, Chapple, 66, Pall Mall, (who is so good as to receive subscriptions)’.
Social domestic satirical: naval central character.
Dedication ‘to Sir Home Popham, Knight, Commander of His Majesty’s Squadron at the Glorious Capture of Buenos Ayres, on the 27th of June, 1806’, dated 1 May 1808.
(63) Herbert-Lodge; a New-Forest Story, by
Miss [Ellen Rebecca] Warner, of Bath, 3 vols, Bath (Printed by Richard
Cruttwell, St. James’s-Street; and sold by Wilkie and Robinson, London),
M280 F445 U2 S727 A159 T886. Bristol.
9 named location (3 London); the remainder presumably Bath-dominated.
Aristocracy (headed Duchess of York) and gentry; high proportion ‘Esq.’; 38 Revd; 5 MPs. Family groupings common.
Sentimental domestic: French Revolution scenes and guillotining of high society anti-heroine!
In Preface author mentions ‘the latter days of an infirm parent’ and ‘the sick couch of an only sister’; she hopes to deserve patronage received by ‘endeavouring to make her volumes the medium of mental improvement, and moral and religious instruction’. Subscribers inc: Miss J. Baillie; Professor Playfair; W. Roscoe, Esq., and W. Roscoe, jun., Esq. Main list is followed by ‘Names sent too late for insertion in the List’, p. [xxi]. Imprint of Yale copy differs by reading: ‘[…] and sold by Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, London, 1808’.
(64) Ned Bentley, a Novel, by J[ames] Amphlett,
3 vols, Stafford (Printed by J. Drewry; and published by Longman, Hurst,
Rees and Orme, London), 1808.
M179 F46 U6 S231 A36 T267. Corvey.
Staffordshire; Midlands generally; London; Liverpool.
Middle ranks; professional; book club/libraries.
Male picaresque: struggle for survival.
Dedication ‘to the Right Hon. R. B. Sheridan’, stating work to be written ‘in the spirit of those principles which you have uniformly approved, and which are characteristic of genuine English society’. Preface, alluding to the irregular manner in which the work was written, dated Stafford, 2 Oct 1808. Subscribers inc. ‘Roscoe William, esq. Liverpool’.
(65) The Village Gentleman, and the Attorney at
Law; a Narrative, by Mrs. [A.] Duncombe, 2 vols, London (Printed
for J. Hatchard, Bookseller to Her Majesty), 1808.
M21 F33 U2 S/T56. BL.
High aristocratic (18, headed Prince and Princess of Wales, royal Dukes and Princesses); 2 Revd; remainder untitled.
Dedication to the the Countess of Albemarle, signed A. Duncombe.
(66) Edward And Laura: A Novel; translated
from the French, by a Bengal Officer, 2 vols, London (Printed by J.
Dean; for R. Ryan), 1809.
M277 F54 S331 A38 T369. UCLA.
4 locations only (all Indian).
India army officers (many of junior rank); East India Company officials.
Trans. of Les Aventures d’Edouard Bomston (Lausanne, 1789), itself a trans. of Begebenheiten Eduard Bomston in Italien (Altenburg, 1782), by Friedrich August Clemens Werthes. ‘The English Translator’s Address’ (pp.[ix]-xii), dated Camp near Saoronj, 20 May 1807. Text proper ends vol. 2, p. 168; pp. -188, contains ‘List of Subscribers’.
(67) The Officer’s Daughter; or, a Visit to Ireland
in 1790, by the daughter [Miss Walsh] of a Captain in the Navy,
deceased, 4 vols, London (Printed by Joyce Gold, Shoe Lane), 1810.
M109 F115 U1 S225 A27 T252. Urbana.
West Country, especially ports; occasional London; Dublin Castle.
Army and navy; militia; naval administrative.
Sentimental domestic: Irish regional.
Dedication to the Hon. Mrs Fane, offering ‘this first effort of my imagination to you’. Note at foot of list apologising for any omissions of names caused by late arrival at the press.
(68) The Romance of The Highlands, by Peter
Middleton Darling, 2 vols, Edinburgh (Printed by George Ramsay and Co.
for the author; and sold by Peter Hill and J. Sutherland; and Longman,
Hurst, Rees, and Orme, London), 1810.
M124 F13 S137 A2 T139. Corvey.
Largely Edinburgh (though professsional/territorial designations rather than addresses usually specified).
Legal professional; Scots aristocracy and lairds; tradesmen (9 merchants); 8 circulating library proprietors.
Sentimental melodrama: Highland backdrop.
(69) Glencarron: A Scottish Tale, by Miss
[Sarah] Wigley, 3 vols, London (Printed for Henry Colburn), 1811.
M50 F37 S87 A15 T102. Corvey.
Aristocratic and gentry (Scottish elements); non-titled.
Scottish historical (medieval): Gothic trace elements.
Dedication to the Marquis of Huntly, thanking him for patronage, signed Sarah Wigley, High Street, Mary-le-bone, 15 May 1811, at beginning of vol. 3; followed by ‘Subscribers’ (inc. ‘Miss Owenson, 2 copies’).
(70) Julia de Vienne: A Novel, imitated from
the French, by a Lady, 4 vols, London (Printed for Henry Colburn), 1811.
M27 F16 S/T43.Corvey.
Headed Prince of Wales, royal Dukes and Duchess of York; aristocrats and court.
Dedication to the Prince of Wales, introducing ‘this my first attempt’.
(71) Like Master Like Man: A Novel, by the
late John Palmer, (of the Theatre Royal, in the Haymarket:) son to the
deceased and celebrated John Palmer, of the Theatre Royal Drury-Lane,
and of the above mention’d theatre; with a Preface, by George Colman,
the Younger, 2 vols, London (Printed for the Relief of the Author’s
Widow, and sold by W. Earle), 1811.
M67 F20 S/T87. BL.
No locations, presumably London
Headed Prince Regent and Duke of York; aristocratical; theatrical/literary.
Preface, signed ‘George Colman, The Younger’ and dated 10 Apr 1811, describes how the manuscript had been purchased by Mr Earle before the author’s death for 15 guineas, and how the bookseller had agreed to its publication by subscription instead. It also quotes from the proposal and describes how the author’s widow has been living on subscriptions during more than a year’s delay preparing the work. Subscription against names vary between £5.00 and £1.00; 20 names have no amount, pointedly indicating non-payment. Subscribers inc: Thomas Dibdin, Charles Kemble, ‘M. G. Lewis, Esq.’.
(72) A Peep at the Theatres! and Bird’s-eye Views
of Men in the Jubilee Year! A Novel, satirical, critical, and moral;
by an Old Naval Officer, 3 vols, London (Printed for C. Chapple), 1812.
M21 F9 S/T30. Harvard.
No locations, but presumably London.
List headed by three Dukes (Kent, Marlborough, Bedford); actors and actresses evident amongst commoners.
Fashionable scandal novel.
‘Prefatory address ‘To the Subscribers’, dated Pall-Mall, Feb 1812. Individual dedications to the Prince Regent, vol. 1, to the Duke of York, vol. 2, and to the Duke of Kent, vol. 3. Indvidual subscribers inc. Mrs Siddons and Charles Kemble.
(73) Silvanella, or the Gypsey; a Novel, 4
vols, Gloucester (Printed by Joseph Wood, for Longman, Hurst, Rees,
Orme, and Browne, Pater-Noster-Row, [London;] Brisley, Stroud; and Washbourn,
M99 F88 S187 A162 T349. BL.
Gloucestershire, with concentration immediately south of Stroud; London and environs; English provincial; Bath.
Headed Dukes of Clarence and Cumberland; local aristocracy; clergy; 70 ‘Esq’.
Sentimental domestic melodrama.
Poem after t.p., ‘To a Friend’: ‘These lines were contributed by a literary friend of the Authoress.’ List in BL copy includes some ms additions (included in above count).
Further edn: 1812 (Corvey—a reissue by A. K. Newman, with list).
(74) The Faithful Irishwoman, or the House of
Dunder, by Captain S[parow] S. De Renzy, 2 vols, London (Printed
by J. Gillet; and sold by Sherwood, Neely, and Jones), 1813.
M34 F33 S67 A11 T78. UCLA.
Smartish aristocracy; the surviving Crespignys en bloc; 3 jointly ‘Hon. and Rev.’.
Domestic sentimental: Irish dimension.
Dedication to ‘my Uncle, Sir Solomon Dunder, Bart.’ signed ‘Your affectionate Nephew, S. S. Dunder’.
(75) Jane De Dunstanville; or, Characters as They
Are: A Novel, by Isabella Kelly, author of Madeline, Abbey of St.
Asaph, Avondale Priory, Joscelina, Eva, Ruthinglenne, Modern Incident,
Baron’s Daughter, Secret, Literary Information, French Grammar, Poems,
&c. &c., 3 vols, London (Published for the author, by J. Souter;
and sold by Mr. Mozley, Gainsborough; Messrs. Wilson and Co. York; Messrs.
Doig and Sterling, Edinburgh), 1813.
M28 F29 S57 A32 T89. Urbana.
Presumably most London.
Military professional; minor aristocratic.
Dedication ‘to Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales’, signed Isabella Hedgeland, York Place, Brompton, 1 Sept 1813. Subscribers inc: M. G. Lewis, General/Mrs Souter Johnstone (5 copies each).
Further edn: 2nd edn 1819 (Corvey—a reissue by A. K. Newman, with list).
(76) The Lady of Martendyke; an Historical Tale
of the Fifteenth Century, by a Lady [?Mary Phibbs], London (Published
for the author, by Henry Colburn), 1813.
M157 F170 S327 A25 T352. Corvey.
No locations: Bath subscription likely.
Polite society: middling aristocracy, gentry, MPs, Revds, medical doctors.
Historical (late Medieval European), with religious element.
Dedication ‘to the Most Noble the Marchioness of Ely’, dated Laura House, Bath, Dec 1812. Preface stresses concern for historical veracity, and mixture of confidence and diffidence engendered by such ‘a catalogue replete with rank, talents, and virtue’. Subscribers inc: Miss Edgeworth, 2 copies; Mrs Hannah More—both names in italics.
(77) Liberality and Prejudice, a Tale, by
Eliza A. Coxe, 3 vols, London (Printed by E. & H. Hodson, Cross-Street,
for B. & R. Crosby & Co.), 1813.
M133 F21 S154 A9 T163. BL.
Headed Princess of Wales, Duchess of York and royal Dukes; Whig aristocracy; 22 MPs.
Domestic social; political satire of electioneering; enlightened Whig view.
Subscribers inc. D. Ricardo, Esq.
(78) The Prior Claim: A Tale, by Mrs. [Maria]
Iliff, 2 vols, London (Published for the author, by J. Burch), 1813.
M70 F115 S185 A7 T192. Corvey.
South London surburban; English provincial (especially Nottinghamshire).
Headed Duke of Kent: thereafter Miss/Mrs prevalent.
Domestic moralistic (Amelia Opie-like).
Dedication. ‘To my Friends! And who, it may be asked, are they?’, dated London, 4 Mar 1813: ‘It is the first, and will probably be the last attempt of the kind which I shall intrude upon the Public.’
(79) Conduct: A Novel, 3 vols, London (Printed
at the Minerva-Press, for A. K. Newman and Co.), 1814.
M109 F144 U2 S255 A40 T295. Corvey.
Middle ranks: professional; minor aristocracy; 14 Revd.
‘To the Subscribers and the Public’, in which author states that the work ‘never would have been published, but for the benefit of her seven, now orphan, children’. Subscribers inc. Sir Eyre Coote, K.B M.P.[ex-governor of Jamaica]. Main list followed by ‘Subscribers’ Names omitted in the Alphabetical Order’.
(80) The Neville Family; an Interesting Tale,
Founded on Facts, by A Lady [M. Despourrins], 3 vols, Cork (Printed
for the Author, by W. West & Co.), 1814.
M152 F177 U1 S330 A89 T419. National Library of Ireland.
Southern Ireland (Kinsale and Cork predominate).
Anglo-Irish aristocracy and gentry; post-holders and military (62nd regiment); professional and clergy (19 Revd); fair proportion of Mrs and Miss.
Military male leads; moral domestic melodrama, with some epistolary elements; West Indies and Dublin frame plot.
Dedication to Lady Kinsale, signed M. Despourrins.
Further edn: London 1815 (Corvey—a reissue, without list).
(81) The Life of a Recluse, [by Ann? Gibson],
2 vols, Newark, (Printed and sold by M. Hage, Stodman-Street: and may
be had of all Country Booksellers; and of Messrs. Longman, Hurst, and
Co. Paternoster Row), 1815.
M286 F119 S405 A22 T427. Harvard.
Headed 11 (local) aristocrats; country gentry/clergy (alphabetically first); Mr/Mrs/Miss (c. 75%).
First-person trials and tribulations.
‘Address to Subscribers’, signed A. Gibson, Screveton, near Bingham, 1 Aug 1815. Last words present novel as ‘the Offspring of Necessity’.
Further edn: London 1817 (Corvey—a reissue by A. K. Newman, with list).
(82) Memoirs of the Villars Family; or, the Philanthropist:
A Novel, by Harriett Waller Weeks, 3 vols, London (Printed for the
author, and published by C. Chapple), 1815.
M11 F60 U2 S73 A25 T98. Corvey.
London residential; Lincolnshire.
Respectable middle-rank female.
Moral Christian domestic.
Preface describes as ‘calculated to answer a more important end than the dissipation of an idle hour’: ‘the cause of morality was her principal aim’.
(83) System and No System; or, the Contrast,
by Maria Benson, author of Thoughts on Education, 1 vol., London (Printed
for J. Hatchard, Bookseller to the Queen; and sold by W. A. Justice,
M42 F54 U1 S97 A29 T126. Aberdeen.
Yorkshire (Humberside, especially centred on Howden).
Headed Viscountess Pollington (12 copies); local gentry; respectable middle class; clergy.
Moral evangelical domestic.
Dedication ‘to the Honourable Viscountess Pollington’. Preface signed Ousefleet Grange. ‘List of Subscribers’ is headed by an apology for ‘a small addition’ to the price owing to ‘a considerable advance […] in the price of paper’. Subscribers inc. ‘Rev. Legh Richmond, Rector of Turvey, Bedfordshire’. Preface advises ‘young female readers’ not to look for ‘a Novel’, ‘the work in question being destitute of all the concomitants which usually grace the page of fiction’.
(84) Angelion, or the Wizard in Elis: A Romance,
taken from the German [of Karl Friederich von Benkowitz], by Maria de
Geisweiler, 3 vols, London (Published by Sherwood, Neely, and Jones;
and Tabart and Co.), 1816.
M72 F95 U8 S175 A69 T244. BL.
No locations, presumably most London.
Occasional aristocrat; middle ranks; London booksellers; German connections.
Trans. of Angelion, der Zauberer in Elis (Berlin, 1798–1800). Multiples bought by several leading publishing houses.
(85) Melmoth House: A Novel, by Mrs. J. Jenner,
3 vols, London (Printed for the author, and sold by G. Austin, Battle;
sold also by Baldwin, Cradock and Joy, No. 47; Walker and Edwards, No.
44 Paternoster Row, and R. Nunn, No. 48 Great Queen Street), 1816.
M92 F144 U1 S237 A21 T258. Corvey.
London residential; Sussex (Hastings, Battle); English provincial (mostly southern).
Respectable middle class; naval and military.
Sentimental domestic; epistolary.
Introduction states author to have long passed her youth, and ‘not likely to trespass again on their indulgence’. ‘List of Subscribers’ at beginning of vol. 3. Subscribers inc. ‘Porter, Miss. Cottage, Long Ditton’.
(86) Spanish Tales, translated from Le Sage,
and selected from other authors, by Mrs. Frederick Layton, 3 vols, London
(Printed for Hatchard; Barrett, Bath; and Deighton, Cambridge), 1816.
M69 F32 U3 S104 A5 T109. BL.
Headed Princess Charlotte of Wales; aristocracy; clergy and professional; 7 MPs.
Compilation (inset stories).
Half-title to vol. 1 states: ‘Published for the Benefit of Distressed Clergymen with a large Family’. Dedication to the Earl of Buchan, signed Jemima Layton. ‘List of Subscribers’ (78 names) and ‘List of Benefactors’ (26 listed) at beginning of vol. 1: these are conflated above. Subscribers include Thomas Johnes, Hannah More, William Roscoe, and Samuel Whitbread; benefactors include Walter Scott.
(87) The Wanderings of a Goldfinch; or, Characteristic
Sketches in the Nineteenth Century, [by Mary Anne M‘Mullan], 1 vol.,
London (Printed by W. Clowes; for Messrs. Longman, Hurst, Rees, and
Co.; T. Egerton; and E. Lloyd), 1816.
M240 F74 S314 A46 T360. BL.
Few locations, but Thames estuary focus implicit: Greenwich (4), Deptford (1), Sheerness (1).
Royalty and high aristocracy; naval (50 RN); eminent professionals; literary figures.
Dedication ‘to her Royal Highness the Princess Mary’, signed ‘Mary Anne M‘Mullan’, London, 22 Apr 1816. Subscription list headed ‘Previous to Publication Copies of this Work were ordered by’. Subscribers inc: Joanna Baillie, John Galt, Sir William Knighton, Mrs Opie, and William Wordsworth.
(88) Maria, a Domestic Tale: Dedicated by
permission to Her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Coburg,
by Catherine St. George, 3 vols, London (Published by J. Porter, Bookseller
to Her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte), 1817.
M80 F112 3U S195 A41 T236. Urbana.
Headed by Princess Charlotte and Prince of Saxe-Coburg (husband); followed by royal Dukes and Duchesses; respectable commoners.
Domestic sentimental moral; epistolary.
Dedication signed Catherine St. George, Douglas, Isle of Man, 4 June 1817.
(89) Dunsany: An Irish Story, 2 vols, London
(Printed for Sherwood, Neely, and Jones), 1818.
M63 F70 S133 A36 T169. Corvey.
West Midlands (especially Shropshire); Wales; SW England.
Country gentry; naval and military officers.
Irish hero’s adventures in British society: Edgeworthian.
(90) Count Glarus of Switzerland: Interspersed
with Some Pieces of Poetry, by W[illiam] S. Wickenden, the Bard
of the Forest; dedicated, by permission, to Edward Jenner, Esq. M.D.F.R.S.,
1 vol., Gloucester (Printed by J. Roberts, Herald Office; sold by Longman,
Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, Paternoster Row, London; Barry and Son,
Bristol; and all other Booksellers), .
M100 F32 S132 A8 T140. Aberdeen.
Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean; London; Bath and Oxford.
Male professional (medical, legal); country residential.
Dedication dated Dean-Forest, Apr 1819.
(91) The Sisters of St Gothard: A Tale, by
Elizabeth Cullen Brown, 2 vols, London (Printed at the Minerva Press
for A. K. Newman and Co.), 1819.
M28 F35 S63 A14 T77. Corvey.
No locations (except 1 at Boulogne, 1 Winchester).
Random alphabetical list: naval officers (2 Vice Admirals, 3 Captains RN) most prominent feature.
Sentimental Swiss pastoral.
(92) Bleddyn; a Welch National Tale, by W[illiam]
S. Wickenden, the Bard of the Forest, author of “Count Glarus of Switzerland”,
2 vols, London (Printed for Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy), 1821.
M82 F12 S94 A2 T96. National Library of Wales.
Gloucestershire, especially Forest of Dean (Lydney, Newnham etc.).
Country residential; clergymen (11 Revd) and professional.
Welsh historical (Civil war period).
Subscribers inc. Edward Jenner.
Another edn: 1 vol. 1821 (Corvey—with imprint of C. Chapple, from the same sheets, but without list).
(93) Tales, by an Unwilling Author, 2 vols,
Dublin (Richard Milliken, Bookseller to his Majesty, his Royal Highness
the Duke of Clarence, his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, and the University
of Dublin), 1822.
M34 F30 S64 A43 T107. Harvard.
Presumably mostly Irish; 2 Bath.
Irish titled and ecclesiastical.
Domestic melodramatic, and self-deflatory.
‘To the Reader’, signed ‘Necessity’, dated Feb 1818. ‘Subscribers’ Names’ end of vol. 2.
Further edn: reisssued London 1825 (Corvey, with list).
(94) Crates and Hipparchia: A Tale, in
a Series of Letters; translated from the German of Christoph M[artin]
Wieland, by Charles Richard Coke, 1 vol., Norwich (Printed by and for
John Stacy, and sold in London, by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown;
Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy; G. and W. B. Whittaker; Harvey and Darton;
W. Wright; C. H. Baldwyn; and Henry Mozley, Derby), 1823.
M231 F17 U10 S258 A49 T307. BL.
Norfolk (Yarmouth, Gorleston; presumably most Norwich).
Professional, middle class.
Trans. of Krates und Hipparchia (Stuttgart, 1805). Subscribers inc. Mrs Opie (2 copies).
(95) Adolphe and Selanie, or, the Power of Attachment:
A Moral Tale, Founded on Facts, by Henry L[eopold] Dubois, teacher
of French language, Edinburgh, 1 vol., Edinburgh (John Carfrae &
Son; and Longman & Co., London), 1824.
M318 F30 S348 A42 T390. BL.
Nearly all Scottish: mostly Edinburgh and environs.
Edinburgh legal establishment; other professional; clergy and academical.
Story set in France, period of Louis XVI.
Subscribers inc: Sir Walter Scott, Francis Jeffrey, J. G. Lockhart, and John Galt.
(96) The Faithful Servant; or, the History of
Elizabeth Allen: A Narrative of Facts, [by Amelia Bristow], 1 vol.,
London: (printed for Francis Westley), 1824.
M32 F114 U7 S153 A100 T253. Bodleian.
Predominantly Mrs/Miss; 7 aristocrats (all female); clergy.
Evangelical didactic (exemplary story for servants).
Further edns: 2nd edn 1824; 4th edn 1832 as Elizabeth Allen; or, the Faithful Servant, 5th edn 1836.
(97) Leave of Absence, by the Late Major [Thomas
Ajax] Anderson, 1 vol., Cardiff (Printed by R. Lloyd, and sold by W.
Bird; and Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, London), 1824.
M63 F13 S76 A92 T168. Urbana.
Cardiff and environs; smattering of London and other towns/cities.
South Wales gentry; military and professional; industry and navigational.
Military adventures and reminiscences.
Subscribers inc. Marquess of Bute, 15 copies.
(98) Tales; Mournful, Mirthful, and Marvellous,
by Mrs.[Sarah] Wilmot Wells, of Margate, 3 vols, London (Longman, Rees,
Orme, Brown, and Green; and J. Denne, Margate), 1827.
M90 F20 U5 S115 A4 T119. Corvey.
Margate and Ramsgate; London.
Duchess of Kent (under Kent); 4 other aristocrats (also in capitals); otherwise untitled (1 ‘organist’).
Mixed bag tales.
‘Apologetical Preface’ signed Sarah Wilmot Wells, Paradise Place, Dane Hill, Margate, Sept 1827. This refers to the author’s ‘first and unvizored intrusion into the literary hive’, and likens the ‘pecuniary necessity’ compelling her to that of the French emigrées after the French Revolution.
(99) Contrast, by Regina Maria Roche, author
of The Children of the Abbey; Discarded Son; Vicar of Lansdown; Bridal
of Dunamore; Tradition of the Castle; Castle Chapel, &c. &c.,
3 vols, London (A. K. Newman & Co.), 1828.
M143 F53 U8 S204 A26 T230. Corvey.
London (polite residential and suburban villas); West Country (11 Falmouth); other English provincial.
42 aristocrats (inc. 5 royal, heading list); high clergy (6 bishops); high-ranking military, several retired; 79 ‘Esq.’.
Sentimental melodrama, strong religious dimension.
Dedication to her Royal Highness the Princess Augusta, pointing to earlier royal support and present exigencies, dated London, 10 Apr 1828. Subscribers inc: ‘L.E.L.’; Robert Southey; William Wordsworth.
(100) Emma de Lissau; a Narrative of Striking
Vicissitudes, and Peculiar Trials; with Explanatory Notes, Illustrative
of the Manners and Customs of the Jews, by the author of “Sophia
de Lissau,” “Elizabeth Allen,” &c. &c [Amelia Bristow], 2 vols,
London (Published by T. Gardiner and Son; sold by Hatchard and Son;
Simpkin and Marshall, and all other Booksellers), 1828.
M62 F143 U3 S208 A75 T283. Corvey.
London most likely.
Middling aristocratic; clergy; commoners (Mrs/Miss dominant).
Didactic evangelical: Jewish heroine converted (matching the author).
Preface dated Pimlico, 30 May 1828. Subscribers inc: Mrs Hannah More; Miss Jane Porter; Miss Anna Maria Porter.
Further edns: 2nd edn 1829; 3rd edn 1830; 4th edn 1837; 5th edn 1841; 6th edn 1847.
(101) The History of a French Dagger; an anecdote
of the Revolution, translated from the French, by Henry L[eopold]
Dubois, late surgeon of Cavalry in the Imperial Army, 2 vols, London
(Printed for the author, by G. Duckworth), 1828.
M300 F21 U1 S322 A15 T337. BL.
London residential addresses (Chelsea; West End; City; Bloomsbury).
Medical (74 surgeons; 30 M.D.), military professional.
Picaresque anti-revolutionary satire.
Dedication ‘To My Subscribers’. The translated story [original not discovered] depicts ‘in lively colours, such barbarous transactions as were unfortunately too common during the days of terror in Paris’ (p. iv).
(102) The Will; or, Twenty-One Years, by Mrs.
Ann Rolfe, author of “Miscellaneous Poems for a Winter’s Evening;” “Choice
And No Choice”, 1 vol., Saxmundham (Printed and sold by L. Brightly),
M165 F22 S187 A8 T195. Bodleian.
All with locations, mostly East Anglian towns (Ipswich, Saxmundham, Bungay, Colchester etc.).
Middle class professional (5 booksellers, 3 surgeons, 3 solicitors, 1 schoolmaster, 1 confectioner!).
Moral domestic melodrama, high society characters.
Prefatory ‘Author, Reviewer, and Reader’, in the form of a dialogue. The text is in small print, and in word length matches a contemporary three-volumed novel.
This article is copyright © 2003 Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, and is the result of the independent labour of the scholar or scholars credited with authorship. The material contained in this document may be freely distributed, as long as the origin of information used has been properly credited in the appropriate manner (e.g. through bibliographic citation, etc.).
An earlier version of this article was given at a Conference on ‘The Corvey Library and Anglo-German Exchanges, 1770–1837’, held at Paderborn University, Summer 1997, in honour of Professor Rainer Schöwerling. I am greatly indebted to the following for advice and help in assembling materials: James Davis of UCLA Special Collections Dept; William Brockman, at the University of Illinois Library, Urbana; Susan Halpert, Houghton Library, Harvard; Claire Connolly; Antonia Forster; James Raven; Frank Robinson; Christopher Skelton-Foord; Magda and Rolf Stouthamer-Loeber; colleagues in CEIR at Cardiff; and, most fundamentally of all perhaps in this instance, the members of Projekt Corvey at Paderborn.
P. D. GARSIDE ‘Subscribing Fiction In Britain, 1780–1829’, Cardiff Corvey: Reading the Romantic Text 11 (Dec 2003). Online: Internet (date accessed): <http://www.cf.ac.uk/encap/corvey/articles/ cc11_n03.html>.
Peter Garside is Chair of the Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research and Professor of English Literature at Cardiff University. Recent publications include The English Novel, 1770–1829: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction Published in the British Isles (OUP, 2000), general editor with James Raven and Rainer Schöwerling; the Stirling/South Carolina Edition of James Hogg’s Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (EUP, 2001; paperback 2002); and Authorship, Commerce, and the Public: Scenes of Writing, 1750–1820 (Palgrave, 2002).
The matter contained within this article provides bibliographical information based on independent personal research by the contributor, and as such has not been subject to the peer-review process.
Last modified 16 June, 2005 .