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What Has Been. A Novel. By Mrs. Mathews . Two volumes in one
Alexandria, [D.C.]: Printed by Cotton and Stewart, 1803 - First published anonymously by the Minerva Press in 1801, it has been attributed to Eliza Kirkham Mathews (1772-1802) on the basis of this American edition of 1803, whose title page reads "by Mrs. Mathews." According to the ODNB, "Her most important work during this period is the novel What has been (1801), a realistic treatment of the vicissitudes of a woman writer, the sole support of a husband and baby, as she peddles to publishers her 'found' manuscript about a doomed female forebear. In a reversal of the male Bildungsroman this novel features the motif of women wanderers coming of age as they starve and narrate their lives to other women . . Several novels, thematically similar, appeared posthumously: Ellinor, or, The Young Governess (1809); Griffith Abbey, or, Memoirs of Eugenia (1808); and Adelaide, or, Trials of Fortitude (1813)" (ODNB). First American edition. 12mo. 312 pp. Early 19th-century blue cloth (possibly remainder binding, ca. 1830?), with printed paper label on spine. Early owner's inscription of Charles James Grant, Palmyra, New York, on the front free endpaper. Binding a bit shaken, text occasionally spotted or stained; overall, however, very good. Shaw & Shoemaker 4622; Garside & Shöwerling 1802:48 (First English edition); Summers, p. 554 ("'The first literary attempt of a lady'") [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: James Cummins Bookseller, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2014-12-26           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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