Memoirs of Emma Courtney (Literary Texts Series) / Edition 1

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Overview

In November of 1795, after William Godwin requested a sketch of Mary Hays life, she arrived at the idea of Memoirs of Emma Courtney. Godwin followed up his request with a "hint" that a fictional exploration of the painful experience she had undergone in her relationship with William Frend might help her to come to terms with it. It was to be an "instructive rather than self indulgent" work. The resulting novel is one of the most interesting and important explorations of gender-related issues of the time. Emma is exposed to a series of situations—motherlessness, orphanhood, poverty, dependence, and more—which encourage her to reflect "on the inequalities of society, the source of every misery and vice, and on the peculiar disadvanteges of my sex." The novel quickly became viewed as "a scandalous disrobing in public" but is has endured as much on the basis of its readability as on its pointed social commentary.

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Editorial Reviews

Sandra Sherman University of Arkansas
"Marilyn Brooks' excellent edition of Emma Courtney situates Hays' first novel philosophically, in relation to Godwin and Wollstonecraft; biographically, in relation to Hays' tormented love affairs; and with regard to the literary ferment expressed in the Jacobin novel. Brooks also provides essential, and in some cases rare background material in the several appendices. The result is that this wonderful formerly obscure novel now yields the intellectual excitement and scandalous frisson that it generated upon publication."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551111551
  • Publisher: Broadview Press
  • Publication date: 1/25/2000
  • Series: Literary Texts Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Marilyn Brooks teaches in the Literature Department of The Open University, East Anglian Region.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Mary Hays: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text
Memoirs of Emma Courtney
Appendix A: Selections from the Mary Hays and William Godwin Correspondence
Appendix B: Selected Letters of William Frend
Appendix C: Articles by Hays in the Monthly Magazine
Appendix D: Reviews of Memoirs of Emma Courtney
Appendix E: On Sensibility and On Melancholy
Appendix F: The Anti-Jacobin Backlash
Appendix G: Wollstonecraft to Hays
Appendix H: Obituary of Mary Wollstonecraft
Select Bibliography

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