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Collecting Eighteenth-Century English Novels in the Twenty-First Century

From: Eighteenth-Century Fiction
Volume 14, Numbers 3-4, April-July 2002
pp. 797-806 | 10.1353/ecf.2002.0027

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Collecting Eighteenth-Century English Novels in the Twenty-First Century
Carl Spadoni
McMaster University
Carl Spadoni

Carl Spadoni, the Research Collections Librarian at McMaster University Library, is a bibliographer, author, and editor with publications in a variety of fields relating to archives, the history of publishing, and the history of the book.


1. From the title-page of The Adventures of Jack Smart (London: S. Crowder and H. Woodgate, 1756).

2. James Raven and Antonia Forster, with the assistance of Stephen Bending, The English Novel 1770-1829: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction Published in the British Isles, vol 1: 1770-1799 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), item 1782:14.

3. See the biographical entry for Blower by Rebeca P. Bocchicchio, An Encyclopedia of British Women Writers, ed. Paul Schlueter and June Schlueter (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1988), pp. 62-63.

4. A graduate student at McMaster, Isabel White, subsequently found an uncatalogued copy at the British Library. Raven and Forster (item 1782:14) also locate a copy at Bristol University Library, Early Novels Collection.

5. Raven and Forster, items 1780:12 and 1788:44.

6. Memoirs of the First Forty-Five Years of the Life of James Lackington (London: printed for and sold by the author, [1791]), pp. 254-55.

7. James Raven, British Fiction 1750-1770: A Chronological Check-List of Prose Fiction Printed in Britain and Ireland (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1987), p. 1.

8. See, for example, Eric Quayle, The "Collector's" Book of Books (New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1971), pp. 27-30. See also Seumas Stewart, Book Collecting: A Beginner's Guide (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1973), pp. 60-64, where Richard Graves, Charlotte Lennox, Sarah Fielding, Thomas Amory, Henry Brooke, and Elizabeth Inchbald are regarded as minor novelists; as a result, a collection of their books is said to provide "a survey of the manners and mental attitudes of the eighteenth century."

9. William B. Todd, "The Early Editions and Issues of The Monk, with a Bibliography," Studies in Bibliography 2 (1949-50), 3-24.

10. See http://www.andromeda.rutgers.edu/jlynch/18th/etext.html, "Eighteenth-Century E-Texts," the web site maintained by Jack Lynch. See also ProQuest's web site on "Eighteenth-Century Fiction" at http://www.chadwyck.co.uk/products/viewproduct.asp?key=717. This full-text database is a commercial product available under a licensing agreement from Chadwyck-Healey. It comprises the works of thirty major novelists (seventy-seven collected works or ninety-six discrete items) for the period 1700 to 1780.

11. See Laura Fuderer, "The Eighteenth Century Collection," at http://www.nd.edu// ndlibs/aboutlib/news/access/oldaccess/acces964/fuderer.htm. According to Fuderer, when Notre Dame purchased these reels for $650,000, it was the most expensive single purchase by her university library in its history.

12. A good web site is the "18th-Century English Novel Research Guide" sponsored by the West Virginia University Libraries at http://www.libraries.wvu.edu/guides/novel/index.htm.

13. Index to Book Reviews in England, 1749-1774 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1990) and Index to Book Reviews in England, 1775-1800 (London: British Library, 1997). See also the summary of Forster's paper, "Reviewing Fiction: The History of the Novel in the Late Eighteenth Century," which she delivered at the SHARP 2001 conference (available at http:www.wm.edu/CAS/ASP/SHARP/schedule.htm). Forster points out that the research into vol. 1 (1770-1799) of The English Novel 1770-1829 has resulted in the location of sixty-two novels previously not in ESTC.