Friday, 7 August 2009

Catalogue of a Circulating Library, 1760

George Colman's imaginary "Catalogue of a Circulating Library" is prefixed to his satirical attack on novel-reading: Polly Honeycombe, A Dramatick Novel of One Act. As it is Now Acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane (London: T. Becket and T. Davies, 1760), ix-xiii; ESTC: t44027 (not online; but see here for the 3rd ed. (1762).

While Colman's "Catalogue" of 182 novels is imaginary, the books listed are not (contrary to the claims of the only two people* who have discussed the list). It includes six works by Haywood (nos. 30, 46, 73, 109, 120, 148, 173), and seventeen works that I list in my Checklist of Eighteenth-Century Erotica.

It is a shame that the "Catalogue" hasn't attracted more attention; perhaps the problem is that the text is hard to find. At one time I was planning an edition of the play and an annotated list of the books mentioned. Instead I am simply going to publish it below with a challenge to anyone to identify a novel that is not real (that is, cannot be found on ESTC, ECCO or in the Burney collection of 18C newspapers). I have even added numbers to make it easier for you.

* The two people are Austin Dobson, "Polly Honeycombe" in Eighteenth Century Vignettes (1896), 83–103 [raw OCR text here]; first published in National and English Review 25 (1895): 623–31. The second person—who really only mentions it in passing—is Paula R. Backscheider, "Fashioning Novels, Novelizing Fashions" in Eighteenth-Century Genre and Culture: Serious Reflections on Occasional Forms; Essays in Honor of J. Paul Hunter (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2001). [See also Update note at the foot of this entry]

BTW: Colman writes, “I shall … conclude my preface with an Extract from the catalogue of one of our most popular circulating libraries; from which extract the reader may, without any great degree of shrewdness, strain the moral of this performance …" (viii). The “Extract” is in two columns, starting ix, col.a. For ease of reference I include page and collum divisions.

1. Accomplished Rake, or the Modern Fine Gentleman.
2. Adventures of Miss Polly B—ch—rd and Sam. Tyrrel, Esq.
3. Adventures of Jerry Buck.
4. Adventures of Dick Hazard.
5. Adventures of Jack Smart.
6. Adventures of Lindamira, a Lady of Quality.
7. Adventures of David Simple.
8. Adventures of a Turk.
9. Adventures of Daphnis and Chloe.
10. Adventures of Prince Cleremont and Mad. de Ravezan.
11. Adventures of Mr. Loveil.
12. Adventures of Joseph Andrews.
13. Adventures of Hamilton Murray. [ix, col.b]
14. Adventures of a Rake.
15. Adventures of a Cat.
16. Adventures of a Black Coat.
17. Adventures of Frank Hammond.
18. Adventures of Mr. George Edwards, a Creole.
19. Adventures of a Valet.
20. Adventures of Capt. Greenland.
21. Adventures of Roderick Random.
22. Adventures of Peregrine Pickle.
23. Adventurei of Ferdinand Count Fathom.
24. Agenor and Ismeaa, or the War of the Tender Passions.
25. Amelia, by Mr. Fielding.
26. Amelia, or the Distressed Wife.
27. Amours of Philander and Sylvia, or Love-Letters between a Nobleman and his Sister. [x, col.a]
28. Amorous Friars, or the Intrigues of a Convent.
29. Antigallican, or History and Adventures of Harry Cobham.
30. Anti-Pamela, or Feigned Innocence Detected.
31. Apparition, or Female Cavalier; a Story founded on Facts.
32. Auction.
33. Beauty put to its Shifts, or the Young Virgin's Rambles, being several Years’ Adventures of Miss * * * * in England and Portugal.
34. Bracelet, or the Fortunate Discovery; being the History of Miss Polly * * *.
35. Brothers.
36. Bubbled Knights, or Successful Contrivances; plainly evincing, in two Familiar Instances lately transacted in this Metropolis, the Folly and Unreasonableness of Parents Laying a Restraint upon their Children’s Inclinations in the Affairs of Love and Marriage.
37. Card.
38. Chiron, or the Mental Optician.
39. Chit-chat, or a Series of Interesting Adventures.
40. Chrysal, or the Adventures of a Guinea, with curious Anecdotes.
41. Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady; comprehending the most Important Concerns of Private Life, and particularly shewing the Distresses that may Attend the Misconduft both of Parents and Children in Relation to Marriage. [x, col.b]
42. Cleora, or the Fair Inconstant: An Authentick History of the Life and Adventures of a Lady, lately very Eminent in High Life.
43. Clidanor and Cecilia, a Novel, designed as a Specimen of a Collection, adapted to form the Mind to a just way if thinking, and a proper Manner of behaving in Life.
44. Clio, or a Secret History of the Amours of Mrs. S—n—m.
45. Cry, a Dramatick Fable.
46. Dalinda, or the Double Marriage.
47. Devil upon Crutches in England, or Night Scenes in London.
48. Emily, or the History of a Natural Daughter.
49. Fair Adultress.
50. Fair Moralist.
51. Fair Citizen, or the Adventures of Charlotte Belimour.
52. Fanny, or the Amours of a West Country Young Lady.
53. Female Foundling; shewing the Happy Success of Constant Love, in the Life of Mademoiselle D— R—.
54. Female Rambler, or Adventures of Madam Janeton de ***.
55. Female Banishment, or the Woman Hater.
56. Female Falsehood.
57. Fortunate Villager, or Memoirs of Sir Andrew Thompfon.
58. Fortune-Teller, or the Footman Innobled.
59. Friends, a Sentimental History.
60. Gentleman and Lady of Pleasure's Amusement, in Eighty-eight Questions, with their Answers, on Love and Gallantry. To which are added, the Adventures of Sophia, with the History of Frederick and Caroline. [xi, col.a]
61. Henrietta.
62. Hillory of Charlotte Villars.
63. History of Miss Kitty N—, containing her Amours and Adventures in Scotland, Ireland, Jamaica, and England.
64. History of Barbarossa and Pollyane.
65. History of Two Persons of Quality.
66. History of Lavinia Rawlins.
67. History of two Orphans, by W. Toldervy.
68. History of Henry Dumont, Esq. and Miss Charlotte Evelyn; with some Critical Remarks on Comic Actors, by Mrs. Charke.
69. History of Benjamin St. Martin, a Fortunate Foundling.
70. History of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Anderson.
71. History of Honoria, or the Adventures of a Young Lady; interspersed with the History of Emilia, Julia, and others.
72. History of Betty Barnes.
73. History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy.
74. History of Dicky Gotham and Doll Clod.
75. History of Fanny Seymour.
76. History of Sophia Shakespeare.
77. History of Sir Charles Grandison.
78. History of a Young Lady of Distinction.
79. History and Adventures of Frank Hammond.
80. History of Jasper Banks.
81. History of J. Trueman, Esq. and Miss Peggy Williams. [xi, col.b]
82. History of Sir Harry Herald and Sir Edw. Haunch.
83. History of Will Ramble, a Libertine.
84. History of Miss Polly Willis.
85. History of my Own Life.
86. History of Lucy Welleri.
87. History of a Fair Greek who was taken out of a Seraglio at Constantinople.
88. History of Hai Ebor Yokdhan, an Indian Prince.
89. History of the Human Heart, or Adventures of a Young Gentleman.
90. History of Charlotte Summers.
91. History of Cornelia.
92. History of Tom Jones, a Foundling.
93. History of Tom Jones in his Married State.
94. History of two Modem Adventurers.
95. History of Sir Roger, and his Son Joe.
96. History of Miss Sally Sable.
97. History of Mira, Daughter of Marcio.
98. History of Amanda, by a Young Lady.
99. History of a Woman of Quality, or the Adventures of Lady Frail.
100. History of Pompey the Little, or Adventures of a Lap-Dog.
101. History of Wilheimina Susannah Dormer.
102. History of Porcia.
103. History of the Countess of Dellwyn.
104. History of Ophelia.
105. History of the Marchioness de Pompadour, Mistress to the French King, and first Lady of Honour to the Queen. [xii, col.a]
106. History of Tom Fool.
107. History of the Intrigues and Gallantries of Christiana, Queen of Sweden.
108. History of Jack Connor.
109. History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless.
110. Histories of some of the Penitents in the Magdalen-House.
111. Jilts, or Female Fortune Hunters.
112. Impetuous Lover, or the Guiltless Parracide; shewing to what Lengths Love may run, and the Extreme Folly of Forming Schemes for Futurity.
113. Intriguing Coxcomb.
114. Journey through every Stage of Life.
115. Juvenile Adventures of David Ranger, Esq.
116. Juvenile Adventures of Miss Kitty Fisher.
117. Lady’s Advocate, or Wit and Beauty a Match for Treachery and Inconstancy; containing a Series of Gallantries, Intrigues, and Amours, Fortunate and Sinister; Quarrels and Reconciliations between Lovers; Conjugal Plagues and Comforts, Vexations, and Endearments; with many Remarkable Incidents and Adventures, the Effects of Love and Jealousy, Fidelity and Inconstancy.
118. Ladies’ Tales.
119. Life and Adventures of Miranda.
120. Life’s Progress, or the Adventures of Natura.
121. Life and Adventures of Joe Thompson. [xii, col.b]
122. Life of Harriot Stuart.
123. Life of Patty Saunders.
124. Life and History of a Pilgrim.
125. Life and Adventures of Sobrina.
126. Life of Corporal Bates, a Broken-hearted Soldier.
127. Life Life and Adventures of Coll. Jack.
128. Life and Adventures of James Ramble, Esq.
129. Life of Charles Osborn, Esq.
130. Life of Mr. John Van.
131. Life and Opinions of Miss Sukey Shandy, of Bow-Street, Gentlewoman.
132. Love and Friendship, or the Fugitive.
133. Lydia.
134. Marriage Act.
135. Memoirs of the Countess of Berci.
136. Memoirs of Fanny Hill.
137. Memoirs of a Man of Quality.
138. Memoirs of the Life of John Medley, Esq.
139. Memoirs of a Coxcomb.
140. Memoirs of the Shakespeare’s Head Tavern.
141. Memoirs of the Celebrated Miss Fanny M—.
142. Memoirs of B— Tracey.
143. Memoirs of Fidelio and Harriot.
144. Memoirs of Sir Tho. Houghson and Mr. Joseph Williams.
145. Memoirs of an Oxford Scholar.
146. Memoirs of a Young Lady of Quality.
147. Memoirs of the Noted Buckhorse.
148. Memoirs of a Certain Island. [xiii, col.a]
149. Memoirs of a Man of Pleasure.
150. Memoirs of a Young Lady of Family.
151. Memoirs of Sir Charles Goodville.
152. Modern Characters Illustrated by Histories.
153. Modern Lovers.
154. Modern Story-teller.
155. Mother.
156. Mother-in-Law.
157. Nominal Husband.
158. New Atalantis for the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty-eight.
159. New Atalantis for the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty-nine.
160. New Atalantis for the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty.
161. Pamela.
162. Polydore and Julia.
163. Prostitutes of Quality, or Adultery a la Mode; being Authentic and Genuine Memoirs of Several Persons of the Highest Quality.
164. Reformed Coquet.
165. Revolutions of Modesty. [xiii, col.b]
166. Rival Mother.
167. Rosalinda.
168. Roxana.
169. School of Woman, or Memoirs of Constantia.
170. Sedan, in which many New and Entertaining Characters are introduced.
171. Sisters.
172. Skimmer.
173. Sopha.
174. Spy on Mother Midnight, or F—’s Adventures.
175. Stage Coach.
176. Temple-Beau, or the Town-Rakes.
177. Theatre of Love, a Collection of Novels.
178. True Anti Pamela.
179. Widow of the Wood.
180. Zadig, or the Book of Fate.
181. Zara and the Zarazians.
182. Zulima, or Pure Love.

[UPDATED 21 October 2017: since 2009, Polly Honeycombe has been briefly noticed by David A. Brewer, "Print, Performance, Personhood, Polly Honeycombe," Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, 41, no. 1 (2012): 185–94; and by Amelia Dale, in her University of Sydney Beauchamp Literary Prize essay "Dramatic extraction and Polly Honeycombe's &c. (2012), a revised version of which appeared as "'Acting It as She Reads': Affective Impressions in Polly Honeycombe," in Passions, Sympathy and Print Culture, edited by H. Kerr, D. Lemmings and R. Phiddian (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 165–82.]

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