Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The City Widow Revisited

I did a long post on Haywood’s The City Widow over a year ago (see here), a post which—looking at it again—got quite side-tracked by my discussion of the prospect of editing the complete works of Haywood. Tempting as it is to revisit the subject of editing, I will try to stick closer to my subject. Today, I’d like to bring together some of the evidence for the post-publication history of Ab.44 The City Widow; Or, Love in a Butt (1729).

Trawling through ECCO and Google Book, I have found The City Widow in ten circulating library, bookseller’s and auctioneer’s sale catalogues up to 1900, those from 1752, 1758, 1767, 1784, 1787, 1793, 1821, 1862, 1887 and 1899. (Sadly, it is not possible to trace twentieth-century references so easily.)

What is surprising is how often The City Widow is bound with salacious and erotic works: works on prostitution (The History of Betty Ireland), rape (The Case of Miss C. Cadière against the Jesuit John Baptist Gerard), masturbation (Onania), scatology (Sixpenny Miscellany; Or, A Dissertation Upon Pissing), erotica (A New Description of Merryland), and titillating fiction (Clarinda; Her Escape and Escapades with a Jesuit). By the late nineteenth century it was twice listed under "Facetiae"—which was a euphemism for erotica (see nos. 8 and 10).

From a bibliographical perspective, two items stand out: nos. 1 and 8. The first of these is interesting because it is an early collection of works by Haywood, comprising Ab.44–45, 47–48. It is tempting to see this as a collection put together by the publisher—John Brindley. Whether such a collection was ever advertised as a collection is something I will have to look into.

The second is interesting because it is the only listing that identifies Haywood as the author (even though the dedication is signed “Eliz. Haywood”). The fact that most of these listings do not mention Haywood as the author is indicative of just how rarely authors are mentioned in eighteenth and nineteenth-century catalogues and, we have to assume, just how uninterested the public was in the authorship of The City WidowThe History of Betty Ireland and Clarinda—Her Escape and Escapades with a Jesuit!

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[1] Charles Marsh, A Catalogue of a Large and Useful Collection of Books (1752?), 84 (no. 2454)—bound with Haywood’s Ab.45 Persecuted Virtue, Ab.47 Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lunenburgh, Ab.48 Love-Letters on all Occasions—priced at 2s 6d.

 [2] Thomas Lownds, A New Catalogue of Lownds's Circulating Library (1758?), 49 (no. 1794)—bound with The History of Betty IrelandFair Concubine and two others—priced at 5s.

 [3] William Bathoe, A New Catalogue of the Curious and Valuable Collection of Books (1767?), 86 (no. 2393)—bound with Amorous Bugbears; Or, The Humours of a Masquerade and Clarinda; Her Escape and Escapades with a Jesuit—priced at 4s.

[4] Ogilvy, David, A Catalogue of Several Libraries of Books (1784?), 144 (no.6062)—priced at 6d. 

[5] John Boosey, A New Catalogue of the Circulating Library at No. 39, King Street, Cheapside (1787), 104 (no.3137)—bound with The Ungrateful Wife and the Life of Daniel Defoe—priced at 3s. 

[6] Thomas King, Appendix to T. King's catalogue for 1792 (1793), 145 (no.5117)—priced at 6d.

[7] Thomas Rodd, Catalogue of twelve thousand tracts, pamphlets and unbound books, in all branches of literature, Part 5 (1821), 321 (no.14,927)—priced at 2s.

[8] Messrs. Leigh Sotheby & John Wilkinson, Catalogue of … the Extensive Library of a Gentleman, Deceased (14 November 1862), 77 (no.924)—bound with five other works, including Onania (1722), Modest Defence of Public Stews Answered (1725), The Case of Miss C. Cadière against the Jesuit John Baptist Gerard (1732) etc—under the heading “Facetiae.”

[9] Messrs. Sotheby, Wilkinson, and Hodge, Catalogue of the Valuable and Very Extensive Library of the late James T. Gibson Craig, Esq. (6 July 1887), 140 (no.2388)—bound with more than ten other works, including A New Description of Merryland (1741), Sixpenny Miscellany; Or, A Dissertation Upon Pissing (1726)—with the bookplate of the Hon. C. Hope Weir.

[10] Pickering and Chatto, An Illustrated Catalogue of Old and Rare Books (1899), 112 (no.1275)—under the heading “Facetiae”—priced at 10s (sewn).

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