Montalbert – A Novel.
First Irish Edition. In Two Volumes (complete set). Dublin, Printed for P.Wogan, P.Byrne, J.Moore, J.Rice, G. Folingsby etc. etc., 1795. Small-Octavo (11 cm x 17 cm). 270, 276 pages. Hardcover / Original 18th-century leather with original spinelabels. Both Volumes in protective Mylar and now housed in a bespoke Solander Box. Bindings in excellent condition with only minor signs of wear. Bookplate / Exlibris of Richard Meade of Ballymartle attached to pastedown of Volume I.
Charlotte Smith (4 May 1749 – 28 October 1806), an English novelist and a Romantic poet, prompted a revival of the English sonnet, helped to set conventions for Gothic fiction and wrote political novels of sensibility. She wrote ten novels, three poetry books, four children’s books and other work, but saw herself mainly as a poet, working in the prime literary form of the day. Scholars credit her with turning the sonnet into an expression of woeful sentiment. She left her husband and began writing to support their children. Her struggles and vain efforts to gain legal protection as a woman gave themes for her poetry and novels outlined in her prefaces. Her early novels show aesthetic development in the Gothic and sentimentality. Later ones such as The Old Manor House, often seen as her best, praised the ideals of the French Revolution. Waning interest left her destitute by 1803. Barely able to hold a pen, she sold her book rights to pay debts and died in 1806. Largely forgotten by the mid-19th century, she has since been seen as a major Romantic writer.
After separating from her husband, Smith moved to a town near Chichester and decided to write novels, as they would make more money than poetry. Her first novel, Emmeline (1788), was a success, selling 1500 copies within months. She wrote nine more in the next ten years: Ethelinde (1789), Celestina (1791), Desmond (1792), The Old Manor House (1793), The Wanderings of Warwick (1794), The Banished Man (1794), Montalbert (1795), Marchmont (1796), and The Young Philosopher (1798). Smith began her career as a novelist in the 1780s, at a time when women’s fiction was expected to focus on romance and to foreground “a chaste and flawless heroine subjected to repeated melodramatic distresses until reinstated in society by the virtuous hero”. Although Smith’s novels employed this structure, they also incorporated political commentary, particularly support of the French Revolution, through the voices of male characters. At times, she challenged the typical romance plot by including “narratives of female desire” or “tales of females suffering despotism”. Smith’s novels contributed to the development of Gothic fiction and the novel of sensibility. (Wikipedia)