1st Edition

The Literary Manuscripts and Letters of Hannah More

By Nicholas D. Smith Copyright 2008

    The result of extensive archival investigation, this meticulously researched book collects and describes for the first time the extant literary manuscripts and letters of the celebrated Bluestocking writer and Evangelical philanthropist Hannah More (1745-1833). Participating in the ongoing recovery of eighteenth-century women writers, Nicholas D. Smith's survey is an indispensable reference work not only for More scholars but for those researching the careers of many of her contemporaries. Features include an extended narrative analysis of the manuscripts that plots More's participation in the manuscript culture of the period and contextualizes the individual entries in the index; provenance details for the more substantial manuscript holdings in British and North American repositories; and identification of numerous autograph manuscripts and transcripts in public and private collections. More than 1,500 letters in 95 locations in Britain and North America have been inventoried and precise dates and internal locators are supplied when known. More's letters, the majority of which have never been published, are a largely untapped source of primary materials for scholars and students researching such diverse subjects as the literary activities and opinions of the Bluestocking circle, women's conduct and education, publishing and the book trade, the national debate over the abolition of the slave trade, the rise of the Evangelical movement, the conservative reaction to the American and French revolutions, and the Napoleonic wars.

    Contents: Preface; Introduction: Provenance; Verse; Epitaphs; Ann Yearsley; The Book of Fame; Lost and misattributed poetical manuscripts; Prose; Drama; Library and annotated books; Extra-illustrated copy of Florio; Letters; Facsimiles; Miscellaneous; Portraits; Personal relics and commemorative items; Moriana. Verse and Prose: Verse; Prose; Drama. Letters: Public collections; Private collections; 1st line index of verse by Hannah More; Bibliography of recent criticism on Hannah More; Index.


    Nicholas D. Smith is an archivist at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK

    '... a meticulously detailed and invaluable scholarly resource, whose breadth and scope will surely contribute to the growing reappraisal of More's career ... His text supplies a substantial platform for critical editions of her poems and letters ... The richness of [Smith's] documentation succeeds in releasing More into the broad context of her times. A salient feature of Smith's remarkably condensed account is its acute observations on More's career and temperament.' Notes and Queries '... a wonderful addition to textual scholarship and an important reference work for those interested in the writings of Hannah More and her circle.' Year's Work in English Studies ’... this book is quite simply indispensable for future scholars of More and her circle.’ Huntington Library Quarterly ’... this well-researched and captivating book is a compelling example of the way in which meticulous and passionate archival investigation can rewardingly cross-fertilize more conventional ’literary’ approaches to the works of authors participating in the still vibrant manuscript culture of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.’ Modern Language Review