w w w . p i c k e r i n g c h a t t o .

c o m / r o b i n s o n

The Works of Mary Robinson
General Editor: William D Brewer Volume Editors: Hester Davenport, Daniel Robinson, Sharon M Setzer, Julie A Shaffer, Orianne Smith and Dawn Vernooy-Epp
The Pickering Masters Part I: Volumes 1–4: c.1600pp: June 2009 978 1 85196 953 1: 234x156mm: £350/$625 Part II: Volumes 5–8: c.1600pp: June 2010 978 1 85196 954 8: 234x156mm: £350/$625


egularly the subject of cartoonists and satirical novelists, Mary ‘Perdita’ Robinson achieved public notoriety as the mistress of the young Prince of Wales, later George IV. This eight-volume critical edition consolidates the recent shift in emphasis from her salacious life to her considerable literary achievements as both a novelist and poet. And recent interest in Robinson’s work is fast awarding her a place of importance within the canon of British Romantic Literature. Her association with key romantic figures such as William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, and the thematic comparisons between Robinson’s work and that of her contemporary Charlotte Smith, make her a serious figure for scholarly research. With a keen eye for cultural and social critique her works expose the moral shortcomings of high society in Georgian England: the misogynistic treatment of women and the fetishistic obsession with wealth and social status receive particular attention. But more than social critique, these works identify Robinson as an avatar of subversive politics. Her well documented sympathy for the French Revolution evinces her political radicalism. And her unconventional treatment of gender and sexuality is emphasised by representations of transvestism and incest. This critical edition presents all seven of Robinson’s novels for the first time. Also included is the unpublished play Nobody, a satirical afterpiece which sheds new light on Robinson’s wider oeuvre. The edition is important for scholars of Romantic Studies and Women’s Writing.
Portrait of Mary Robinson, John Hoppner (c.1780) Photograph by Steve Shrimpton © Chawton House Library

• The most complete collection of Robinson’s work ever published. • Full transcription of the perviously unpublished stage play Nobody • New transcriptions from documents held at the Huntington Library, California • Full editorial apparatus includes a substantial general introduction, a chronology of Robinson’s life, textual notes, and introductions specific to each novel.


e M Pi a ck st e er ri s ng


w w w . p i c k e r i n g c h a t t o . c o m / r o b i n s o n
Contents Part I
Volumes 1 and 2 Editor: Daniel Robinson Poems Writing in a variety of forms, Robinson’s poetry includes the sonnet sequence Sappho and Phaon (1796) and the Wordsworth and Coleridge inspired Lyrical Tales (1800). This collection is the first complete and scholarly edition of Robinson’s poetry ever published. Editor: Dawn Vernooy-Epp Vancenza; or, the Dangers of Credulity (1792) Set in fifteenth-century Spain, this Gothic romance is a cautionary tale about the dangers of female credulity. It is Robinson’s first attempt at exploring the theme of incest which she revisits in her penultimate novel, The False Friend. The Widow, or a Picture of Modern Times (1794) Robinson’s second novel is heavily influenced by Frances Burney’s Evelina, and contains a panegyric to Robinson’s former lover, the Prince of Wales. Volume 3 Editor: Sharon M Setzer Angelina; A Novel (1796) Angelina received a rave review from Mary Wollstonecraft. It is a novel that grapples with the physical and sexual oppression of women, suggesting that filial disobedience can in some cases be a virtue. Volume 4 Editor: Orianne Smith Hubert de Sevrac, A Romance, of the Eighteenth Century (1796) Writing during a period of anti-revolutionary hysteria in England, Robinson boldly eulogizes the storming of the Bastille in the novel’s third and final volume.

Part II
Volume 5 Editor: William D Brewer Walsingham; or, The Pupil of Nature: A Domestic Story (1797) By revealing one of her central characters as a crossdressing woman, this novel constructs a platform on which Robinson suggests gender is performative. Volume 6 Editor: Julie A Shaffer The False Friend: A Domestic Story (1799) In The False Friend Robinson explores two themes that recur throughout her writings: incest and illegitimacy. The novel focuses on the supposedly orphaned Gertrude St. Leger whose infatuation with her guardian turns out to be incestuous. Volume 7 Editor: Hester Davenport The Natural Daughter. With Portraits of the Leadenhead Family. A Novel (1799) Memoirs of Mrs Mary Robinson This is the first republication of the Memoirs which transcribes Robinson’s original manuscript. Letters from Mary Robinson Volume 8 Editors: William Brewer and Sharon M Setzer The Lucky Escape (1778); Impartial Reflections of the Present Situation of the Queen of France (1791); Nobody, a Comedy in Two Acts (performed 1794); The Sicilian Lover (1796); A Letter to the Women of England (1799); The Sylphid Essays (October 1799 – February 1800, Morning Post); Present State of the Manners, Society, Etc. Etc. of the Metropolis of England (1800, Monthly Magazine); ‘Anecdotes’of Duke de Lauzun, Duke of Chartres, and Marie Antoinette (1800, Monthly Magazine); Jasper (1801)

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