Wednesday 23 March 2022

Eliza Haywood in Quaritch's General Catalogue, 1871

A three-volume set of the first edition of Eliza Haywood's Ab.68.1 The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy (1753) appeared as lot no. 1219 in the 1871 sale Catalogue of the Valuable ... Library of the Late Sir J. Simeon, Bart. (here).

The set, bound in calf, is attributed to the novelist Charlotte Lennox, author of The Female Quixote; or, The Adventures of Arabella (1752)—but not the author of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy. It is not clear how this error arose. Since no previous example of it is known, is seems unlikely it was copied from an earlier bibliography or catalogue.

In any event, as is the way with these things, the error in the catalogue of the library of Sir John Simeon, 1st Baronet (1756–1824) of Walliscot in Oxfordshire, MP for Reading in Berkshire etc., was repeated almost immediately—probably because he bought this lot at the Sir John Simeon auction—in Bernard Quaritch's A General Catalogue of Books: Offered to the Public at the Affixed Prices (1872), p.539 (no. 5644) [here; reissued in 1874 here].

Quaritch's monumental General Catalogue occupied 1889 pages. That is not a typo: one thousand, eight hundred and eighty-nine pages, often in two or three columns. Given its comprehensive coverage of literature, the General Catalogue was used—along side Lowndes'/Bohn's Bibliographer's Manual—as a standard work of reference in the book trade for a long period. Consequently, it is surprising that this false attribution did not get repeated; but it didn't. And since it didn't, I managed to miss it: it does not appear in my Bibliography of Eliza Haywood (2004)

I remember having had a chance to buy a copy of Quaritch's General Catalogue at one point—in the basement of a large bookshop, while in the UK I think. But the General Catalogue failed my standard test—I searched the index for Haywood, and found nothing. Now that it can be searched electronically, I see that, not only does Haywood's appear (albeit via a false attribution), but Haywood appears (again?), and in a most interesting way.

In the section titled "Books Wanted to Purchase" appears the following entry (on p. 1755; here):
NB: "… and any other works by this authoress."

Clearly, the lack of works by Haywood (recognised as such) in Quaritch's General Catalogue was not due to the fact that there was no demand for them!

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