[Manley, Delarivier a.k.a Mary De La Riviere Manley] : Secret Memoirs and Manners Of several Persons of Quality Of Both Sexes. From the New Atalantis An Island in the Mediteranean. [With] Memoirs of Europe, Towards the Close of the Eighth Century


 

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London, Printed for John Morpeth near Stationer's Hall and J. Woodward in St Christopher's Church Yard....., 1710, Hardcover, 8vo 8" - 9" tall, pp. 3 vols. First work 2 vols second edition, 8vo: [ii] vi 246 [4] & [xvi] 272 [4] pp. Bound in contemporary panelled calf with spine labels bearing gilt titles, remains of paper labels at foot of spines, wear to spine ends and corners with some loss of leather from spine ends, joints started and surface wear to leather on upper board of v.2, vol.1 lacking frontis but both vols with separately published 'Keys' bound in at rear (these 'Keys' detail exactly who Manley's allegorical text is actually referring to), bookplates to front pastedowns, some light browning/foxing but Keys quite toned, a few marginal notes in ink in second vol. Second Work: 1st edition, 8vo: [xvi] 319, 332-380 [iv]pp. collated and complete despite pagination error, near contemporary panelled calf with spine label bearing gilt titles, a little worn at corners and spine ends, joints rubbed & upper joint just starting from edges, paper label at foot of spine, bookplate on front pastedown, eps browned, text clean and bright, 'Key' bound in at rear. ESTC Numbers: N47962 & N47968 & T106837.

Most of what is known about the English writer Delarivier Manley (1670-1724) is drawn from her own 'Adventures of Rivella' (1714) but Manley's autobiographical writing is often self serving and not entirely reliable. What is known is that after the death of her parents she came under the care of her cousin, the Tory lawyer, John Manley, who would later bigamously marry Delarivier and have a son with her. In 1694, under the protection of Barbara Villiers separated from her husband and it was after this that her writing career really begins. Her 'Secret Memoirs...', a satirical attack on the Whig government and grandees, would lead to her arrest for seditious libel. Her defence was essentially to insist that the work was fiction and that those who felt personally offended must prove that it was their stories she told and in the absence of anyone willing to offer such proof, she was discharged. The success of her 'Secret Memoirs...' inspired her to write the continuation 'Memoirs of Europe...' but after 1711 she concentrated on political journalism, writing a number of political pamphlets and editing a number of editions of Jonathan Swift's 'Examiner'. In his 'Journal to Stella' Swift describes Manley as having ‘very generous principles for one of her sort; and a great deal of sense and invention; she is about forty, very homely, and very fat’. Throughout the 19th and for much of the 20th centuries Manley was regarded as a scandalous female author undeserving of fame or of even being read. More recently her reputation has been transformed with wider appreciation of her work by students of early 18th century literature and with the recognition of Manley as a proto-feminist author. 

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