Cover

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Title, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

For the realization of a long-cherished dream of getting The Recess back into print and into the hands of readers, I am deeply grateful to Isobel Grundy for having been willing to place her faith in a younger scholar, and to J. Paul Hunter for his kindness in having put me in touch with her...

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Introduction

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pp. ix-xliv

The Recess enjoyed enormous popularity for well over twenty years after its first publication in 1783, not only in the English-speaking world, but all over Europe. Its success was important in establishing both Gothic and historical fiction, of which it is one of the earliest examples, as modes that were predominant in England for decades afterward and remain popular to this day...

Chronology of Events in Sophia Lee's Life

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pp. xlv-xlviii

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Note on the Text

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pp. xlix-lii

The present critical edition of The Recess; or, A Tale of Other Times is based on the text of the second edition, published in London by T. Cadell in 1786. Since the first or last edition of a work is ordinarily considered to have the greatest claim to authority, I explain here my reasons for diverging from that view in this case...

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The Recess; or, A Tale of Other Times: PART I

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pp. 1-68

After a long and painful journey through life, with a heart exhausted by afflictions, and eyes which can no longer supply tears to lament them, I turn my every thought toward that grave on the verge of which I hover. Oh! why then, too generous friend, require me to live over my misfortunes?...

Dedication

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pp. 3-4

Advertisement

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pp. 5-6

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Part II

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pp. 69-98

The communication between Lord Leicester's apartment and ours was a profound secret to all the servants but Le Val and Williams, my Lord's valet; in whose fidelity, after the late trial, he had the most perfect confidence. We were, to keep up the farce, presented to Lord Leicester the next day, who soon, by his growing distinction, taught Mrs. Hart and her daughters to observe a kind of deference in their behaviour to us...

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Part III

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pp. 99-151

From this temporary death I was at last recalled by a sound that made me wish it had been indeed eternal; the voice, the tremendous voice of Williams. Of what horrors was my soul instantly susceptible! What dreadful images swam before those eyes I hardly durst open! Fearfully at length I cast them around— I saw I had been conveyed into the great room of our Recess; sacred once to piety and innocence, but now, alas! the shelter of rapine, perhaps murder...

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Part IV

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pp. 152-223

I struggled with the sad remembrances indelibly impressed on my heart, when my eyes again beheld the shore of England; and folding to my bosom the dear offspring of love and misfortune, I shut up every sense in her. Already alive to the anxious hopes and wishes that so early tincture a being with which alone they expire, my daughter fondly flattered herself with the expectation of an unknown good, and impatiently wished for the termination of our voyage...

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Part V

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pp. 224-270

A Silence so tedious will make you number me among the dead; recover yourself, my beloved friend—born to a perpetual contest with ill fortune, I sink not even yet under the oppression.— I have been collecting all my thoughts to pursue my strange recital, more strange indeed every day. In our way toward Ulster, we were intercepted by a body of the rebellious Irish...

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Part VI

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pp. 271-326

Time, which inures us to every kind of suffering, at length strengthened my mind against the heavy sadness impressed on it by the fate of this dear unconscious sufferer. It was with true gratitude and concern I learnt Heaven had called to itself the amiable and accomplished sister of Lady Arundel, who caught a cold during her attendance on the sick Queen, which ended in a consumption, and carried her off a few months after Elizabeth...

Emendations

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pp. 327-330

Notes to the Novel

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pp. 331-362

Bibliography

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pp. 363-366