Thursday, 26 February 2015

Wall of Shame

On this page I plan on memorialising some of the negative, dismissive, outrageous and idiotic statements made about Eliza Haywood and her (actual or putative) works. (I have already discussed Haywood's reputation before the twentieth century, and collected together some of the more positive statements made about Haywood here.)

I think that it is worth collecting some of the misogyny, prejudice and ignorance of the last two centuries in one place so that the (admirable) restraint of modern scholars—who are prone to tell students that Haywood's works have been "overlooked" or "dismissed"—is more obvious.

[1731]. Jonathan Swift [letter dated 26 October 1731], in Letters to and from Henrietta, Countess of Suffolk (1824), 2.29 (here)

Mrs. Heywood I have heard of as a stupid, infamous, scribbling woman, but have not seen any of her productions.

[1815]. Sir Egerton Brydges, Censura Literaria: Containing Titles, Abstracts, and Opinions of Old English Books, 2nd ed. (1815), 10.312 fn (here):

Secret Histories, Novels, and Poems, Written by Mrs. Eliza Haywood, 1732, in 4 vols. and third edition. Unless there was some omission, or a subsequent reprint with addition, it seems doubtful which story of this disgraceful detailer of lascivious passion, rapes, adultery, and murder, is referred to.

[1823]. Anonymous reviewer of Peveril of the Peak in The Monthly Review, 2nd ser. 100 (February 1823), 188 (here):

The productions of Mrs. Heywood, or of Mrs. Behn, would be little compatible with the delicacy of modern days: but, indeed, the scale of feeling on such subjects, more especially among women, has been very much raised since that period.

[1833]. Lord Dover [annotation] in Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, to Sir Horace Mann, edited by Lord Dover (1833), 1.325 (here):

Eliza Heywood, a voluminous writer of indifferent novels; of which the best known is one called "Betsy Thoughtless."

[1844]. Charles Whitehead, Richard Savage: A Romance of Real Life (1844), ch. 15 fn (here):

Eliza Haywood, although now nearly forgotten, attained during her life-time to an enviable celebrity. Pope, in his Dunciad, has heaped terrible infamy upon her head. Her plays I have not seen; but I have looked into her novels of which "The History of Betsy Thoughtless " and "Jenny and Jemmy Jessamy " are the most considerable. They possess no common degree of merit, but are altogether unfit for modern perusal.

[1848]. Thomas Wright, England Under the House of Hanover: Its History and Condition During the Reigns of the Three Georges (1848), 1.91 (here).

It is clear, indeed, that the national taste had become as vulgar as the national manners, and as corrupt as the principles of a large majority of the public men of that period. The works which received the greatest encouragement were scandalous memoirs, secret history surreptitiously obtained and sent forth under fictitious names, (such as the books which came the pens of Eliza Haywood, Mrs. Manley, and other equally shameless female writers, and from the press of Edmund Curll,) and ill-disguised obscenity.

[1856]. Anonymous, "Daniel De Foe," The Dublin University Magazine, vol. 48, no. 283 (July 1856): 70 (here):

Have any of the readers of these pages perused Eliza Heywood's other works? … If the ladies are ignorant of this literature, let them be advised and remain in their ignorance.

[1859]. David Masson, British Novelists and Their Styles: Being a Critical Sketch of the History of British Prose Fiction (1859), 98–99 (here); reprinted (Boston 1859), 106 (here):

Passing by these, however, and also those short novels of licentious incident by Mrs. Heywood and other followers of Aphra Behn, which are to be found bound up in old volumes, four or five together, in the neglected shelves of large libraries, we alight, in the reign of George II., on a new group of British Novelists, remembered pre-eminently under that name.

[1872]. Hippolyte A. Taine, History of English Literature, translated by H. Van Luen, 2nd ed. (1872), 2.206 (here):

In no age were hack-writers so beggarly and more vile. Poor fellows, like Richard Savage …; courtesans like Eliza Heywood, notorious by the shamelessness of their public confessions; …. These villanies, foul linen, the greasy coat six years old, musty pudding, and the rest, are in Pope as in Hogarth, with English crudity and preciseness.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Not The Only Copy

The Wellcome Library has acquired copies of the 1787 and 1788 editions of Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies. Which is great, and certainly to be celebrated. It is also, apparently, big news, since quite a few people have read Hallie Rubenhold's sensational, well-promoted and insubstantial books on the subject (which, for reasons that will become clear, I will neither name nor link to).

According to The Guardian (here) and The Independent (here) the Wellcome Library bought "the book" or "a copy" (NB singular) from a London dealer for "a low five-figure sum"—which I take to mean about twenty to thirty thousand pounds for the two editions.

Another thing that The Guardian and The Independent agree on is that the 1787 edition is unique, claiming: it is "the only surviving 1787 guide" and is "a unique surviving … copy"—a claim that is repeated in every newspaper to reprint the story, such as The Sunshine Coast Daily (here), The Mackay Daily Mercury (here) and The Toowoomba Chronicle (here).

Dr Richard Aspin, Head of Research and Scholarship at the Wellcome Library, is more cautious than The Guardian and The Independent: stating in his blog entry about the purchase (here) that the 1787 edition "appears to be the only one in existence."

Unfortunately for Aspin (and the reporters at The Guardian and The Independent), the Wellcome copy of Harris's 1787 List is not unique. A simple Google search for "Harris's List of Covent-Garden Ladies" and "1787" locates the Bavarian State Library copy immediately. It has been available online since 14 December 2011 and has appeared in my list of Eighteenth-Century Erotic Texts Online since 14 July 2013.

Although the Bavarian State Library has had their copy since the eighteenth century, have published it online, and it has appeared in major bibliographies of erotica since 1889, it is not surprising that it was overlooked. Rubenhold appears only to known of eight editions/years of Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies: 1761, 1764, 1773, 1774, 1779, 1788, 1789 and 1793. She gives the impression that these are the only survivors. Obviously, she is wrong.

During my research into eighteenth century erotica, I located seventeen editions/years of Harris's List. Some were easier to locate than others, appearing in major bibliographies and collections, and some are easier to locate now, than they were a decade ago. However, the fact that Rubenhold located only seven of at least seventeen copies, while preparing a series of books on the subject, suggests that her research was pretty shallow. Woeful, in fact.

I can't help wondering if the Wellcome Library paid a premium for the 1787 edition on the basis that it was "unknown to Rubenhold". (Since the claim that the 1787 edition is "unique," crops up in every article I can only assume that this claim is important to the Library because the did pay a premium.) If so, they probably won't be pleased to discover that they are wrong.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Book-Lover's Library Series, 1886–1902


"The Book-Lover’s Library" (BLL) was published in London by Elliot Stock. The series was edited by Henry Benjamin Wheatley (1838–1917), Vice-President and President of the Bibliographical Society, 1908–10, 1911–13. There appear to have been 26 volumes in the series, published between 1886 and 1902, all of them aimed at "the Bibliographer and all Book-Loving Readers." Since I am a Bibliographer and Book-Loving Reader, I have a hand-full of them (above), and I have read them all.

Volumes in the BLL series were issued (as advertised in 1902, below [NB "was first published"]) in three printing and binding styles: (A) on antique paper, with rough edges, in cloth, bevelled [178x110mm] (B) on hand-made paper, Roxburgh half morocco, with gilt top [185x110mm; 250 copies "for sale in England" thus] (C) on large, hand-made paper (by Van Gelder), bound in Roxburgh half morocco [220x178mm; 50 copies "for sale in England"]. In 1902 the prices in the UK were A: 4s 6d; B: 7s 6d; C: £1 1s; the prices in the US (ca. 1892) were A: $1.25; B: $2.50. As you can see in my first picture, at left, binding B dosen't age well.


My Checklist of the 26 volumes in the BLL series is below, numbered in the order that they I think they were released. I haven't been able to find a full list online, and the few claims I have seen about the number of volumes in the series both disagree about the total number of volumes and don't list the individual volumes. So, for instance, the British Library has a catalogue entry for the series, which claims that there were 28 volumes, but notes that their set "includes more than one edition of certain Works"—which are not named.


In 2010, a lot of 32 volumes was sold at auction (lot 347, here) as a "complete set," but only "some" of titles are mentioned in the catalogue entry for the lot, so it is not clear which volumes I exclude that the auctioneer believed had belonged to the series. However, the photograph that accompanies this lot (above) suggests why there might be some confusion about the number of volumes in this series (i.e., why the auctioneer might have been wrong that there were 32 volumes in the series). As you can see, partly visible, at the left of the photo, is W. Davenport Adams, Byways in Book-Land (1888).

If you look here you can see that Byways in Book-Landis not a part of the BLL series, although the paper, binding and price matches those in the BLL (i.e., it "is another of Mr. Stock's dainty little volumes, ever tempting in their cool green covers … [with] clear type and wide margins" as a reviewer states in The Reliquary 3 (1889): 59). Elliot Stock was famous for this type of book, it was his house style, rather than the distinguishing feature of volumes in the BLL series alone. Stock issued many dainty little bookish volumes, which cannot be differentiated from titles in the BLL by their appearance alone. Below, for instance, is J. Rogers Rees' Diversions of a Bookworm (1886) and The Pleasures of a Book-Worm (1886).

Volumes in the BLL series can only be established as belonging to the series if they appear in one of the publisher's lists of volumes in the BLL or if the text "The Book-Lover's Library" appears on the page facing their title-page. I have compiled the list below from four publisher's lists, two printed at the back of volumes from the series, and two leaflets from the publisher that I have otherwise acquired. The four lists (illustrated after the checklist) are:

1892a = A list of 14 titles printed in the back of Books Condemned to be Burnt (1892).
1892b = A list of 16 titles on a ca. 1892 leaflet advertising in the BLL series.
1902 = A list of 25 titles printed in the back of How to Make an Index (1902)
1910 = A list three reprints from the BLL on a ca. 1910 leaflet for "The 'How To' Series."

(The 'How To' series was comprised of J. D. Stewart, How to Use a Library (1910) and reprints of BLL nos.1, 11, 26). I have provided a code to show the order in which titles appear in the three main lists: 1892a and 1892b have the newest volumes, first; 1902 has the oldest volumes first.

* * * * *

01 Henry B. Wheatley, How to Form a Library (1886) [1892a.14; 1892b.16; 1902.01]

02 W. C. Hazlitt, Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine (1886; rpr. 1902) [1892a.13; 1892b.15; 1902.02]

03 G. L. Gomme, Literature of Local Institutions (1886) [1892a.12; 1892b.14; 1902.03]

04 H. Trueman Wood, Modern Methods of Illustrating Books (1886) [1892a.11; 1892b.13; 1902.05]

05 Henry B. Wheatley, The Dedications of Books to Patron and Friend (1887) [1892a.10; 1892b.12; 1902.06]

06 W. C. Hazlitt, Gleanings in Old Garden Literature (1887) [1892a.09; 1892b.11; 1902.07]

07 Frederick Saunders, The Story of Some Famous Books (1888) [1892a.08; 1892b.10; 1902.08]

08 William Blades, The Enemies of Books (1888) [1892a.07; 1892b.09; 1902.09]

09 W.A. Clouston, The Book of Noodles (1888) [1892a.06; 1892b.08; 1902.10]

10 Edward Smith, Foreign Visitors in England (1889) [1892a.05; 1892b.07; 1902.04]

11 Henry B. Wheatley, How to Catalogue a Library (1889) [1892a.04; 1892b.06; 1902.11]

12 John Pendleton, Newspaper Reporting in the Olden Time and Today (1890) [1892a.03; 1892b.05; 1902.12]

13 W. C. Hazlitt, Studies in Jocular Literature (1890) [1892a.02; 1892b.04; 1902.13]

14 L. A. Wheatley, The Story of the "Imitatio Christi" (1891) [1892a.01; 1892b.03; 1902.14]

15 J. A. Farrer, Books Condemned to be Burnt (1892) [1892b.02; 1902.15]

16 William Blades, Books in Chains (1892) [1892b.01; 1902.16]

17 Henry B. Wheatley, Literary Blunders (1893) [1902.17]

18 Gleeson White, Book-Song (1893) [1902.18]

19 R. B. Marston, Walton and Some Earlier Writers on Fish and Fishing (1894) [1902.19]

20 P. H. Ditchfield, Books that have been Fatal to their Authors (1895) [1902.20]

21 William Roberts, ed., Book-Verse (1896) [1902.21]

22 James E. Matthew, The Literature of Music (1896) [1902.22]

23 Frederick G. Kitton, The Novels of Charles Dicken (1897) [1902.23]

24 John Lawler, Book Auctions in England in the Seventeenth Century (1898) [1902.25]

25 Frederick G. Kitton, The Minor Writings of Charles Dickens (1900) [1902.24]

26 Henry B. Wheatley, How to Make an Index (1902)

* * * * *