Frances Sheridan’s Eugenia and Adelaide is an astonishing first novel of parental tyranny, infidelity, kidnap, blackmail, and violence played out over two volumes against the backdrop of continental Europe. The friendship of Eugenia and Adelaide endures in spite of their separation at the beginning of the novel and remains central to a complex yet coherently drawn web of intriguing tales situated in palatial apartments and remote moss-covered castles. Drawing upon the tragic and comic possibilities of disguise familiar to her from Shakespearean and Restoration drama, and influenced by the romantic entanglements of early prose fiction, Sheridan adopts a sometimes satirical approach to extraordinary events at the same time that she demonstrates a sincere and convincing commitment to the ingenious art of storytelling. Sheridan completed the novel in 1739 when she was just fifteen-years old and Eugenia and Adelaide would prove instrumental to the establishing of Sheridan’s literary reputation as one of the most successful novelists and dramatists of the mid-eighteenth century. This is the first modern edition of Eugenia and Adelaide to be published since the original posthumous publication of 1791 and presents a unique opportunity to explore Sheridan’s contribution to our current understandings of the history of women’s writing, and of reading tastes and practices in the long eighteenth century.
Table of Contents
Select Bibliography and Further Reading
Note on the Text
Eugenia and Adelaide, A Novel
Anna M. Fitzer, BA (Hons), PhD (Wales), FHEA is Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature at the University of Hull. She completed her doctorate on eighteenth-century sentimental fiction and the female rake at the University of Wales, and is Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has published widely on the work of the Sheridan family, and is editor of the four-volume Memoirs of Women Writers, Part I (2012), and of Strathallan (2008), the first novel written by Frances Sheridan’s granddaughter, Alicia LeFanu. Her co-edited collection, Editing Women's Writing 1670–1840, was published by Routledge in 2018.