Sunday 1 January 2023

Collecting Haywood, 2022

I am posting today to both apologise to any remaining long-term viewers of this blog for my long silence and to post my annual Haywood collecting year-in-review.

For personal reasons, I was obliged to drop everything I was doing and spend a fair chunk of 2023 on leave; since returning from leave I have had significantly reduced spare time, and will likely continue to have little time for blogging hereafter. I am hopeful, that things might begin to improve in 2023. In any event, when I can post, I will. I certainly have a number of substantial posts, which I would like to complete, that I have been working on for a long time.

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2022 has been another good year for Haywood collecting, despite the increasingly-obvious reduction in the pool of relevant books on the market. The few remaining Haywood titles, that were still relatively-common a few years ago, such as The Female Spectator and La Belle AssemblĂ©e, are becoming both less common and more expensive. While translations of Haywood’s works do appear on the market more regularly than the originals, and sometimes cheaply, these too are increasingly expensive.

Consequently, much of what I was able to buy in 2023 were either wildly expensive unicorn-items (genuine rarities, whose appearance is measured in decades), or expensive copies of relatively common items. There were so few bargains that it would be deceptive to mention the prices of these at all, so I won’t.

The highlight of the year is probably Ab.4.2 / Ab.5.2 the 1724 Dublin edition of The British Recluse and The Injur’d Husband, of which only two other copies are known, and which emerged from a Country House estate after something like two centuries of safe-keeping. I only have two Haywood items that are older than this volume. I have do not know for certain how long it has been since a copy of this book appeared on the market, but I am reliably informed that it must be at least four decades.

Two rare translations would come a close second to this 1724 Dublin edition: Ab.66.4 Lettre de H.... G....g ecuyer (a translation of A Letter from Henry Goring) and an odd volume of Ab.68.8 Geschichte Herrn Jacob Jessamy (a translation of The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy)—of which only one set is known, which I have not examined, and which had an incomplete entry in my Bibliography. There are three French translations of A Letter from Henry Goring. I briefly had a later one (Ab.66.5) while I was still a PhD student, which I was obliged to buy and then immediately sell to a local library—since I couldn’t afford to keep it, but wanted to examine and have access to it. I have obviously been very keen to replace this volume, but had not seen a copy of any edition since 2003.

Similarly, but surprisingly rare is the two-volume set edited by Thomas Kinnersley, titled Matrimonial Miscellany (1818–19), which contains a late, Bowdlerised edition of Haywood’s The Fruitless Enquiry. The first original Haywood item I ever purchased, in August 2000, was a copy of vol. 2 of this set—the volume containing Fruitless Enquiry. I have been looking for a complete set ever since. Even though I could only locate two other copies in 2004, I thought that, being a late reprint, I would quickly find another. No such luck. It took more than two decades of searching to find a complete set to sit next to my first “real” Haywood purchase.

Honourable mention goes to a 1st edition of Ed.59.12a The Happy Orphans—the retranslated translation of Ab.59 The Fortunate Foundlings—another incomplete set of Ab.69.1 The Invisible Spy—a second copy of Ab.48.2 Lettres Traduites de l’Anglais (a translation of Love-Letters on all Occasions) and two more sets of La Spectatrice. I also managed to get a nice 1st edition of the translation I mentioned last year—the one “that I had somehow previously missed”—which brings me a step closer to publishing details of this find.

Finally, in terms of Haywoodiana, my 1743 signature of Richard Savage (which I mentioned in my post on Collecting Haywood, 2021), is undoubtedly the highlight, but it was nice to supplement this in 2022 with a copy of his The Authors of the Town; A Satire (1725). The Authors of the Town contains Savage’s first attack on Haywood, in which he famously describes her as

A cast-off Dame, who of Intrigues can judge,
Writes Scandal in Romance—a Printer’s Drudge!
Flushed with Success, for Stage-Renown she pants,
And melts, and swells, and pens luxurious rants.

I didn’t really want to collect Savage, but he is hard to ignore. I guess this means I may end up also having to collect a few copies of Alexander Pope’s Dunciad, but perhaps not until the Haywood pool dries up completely.