London: Henry Colburn, 1842. Item #00646
Romance At the Time of Catherine the Great
HOFLAND, Mrs. [Barbara]. The Czarina; An Historical Romance of the Court of Russia. By Mrs. Hofland…In Three Volumes. London: Henry Colburn, Publisher, 1842.
First edition. Three twelvemo volumes (7 3/8 x 4 5/8 inches; 187 x 117 mm.). , 302; , 317, [1, blank]; , 325, [1, blank] pp. Possibly bound without the half-titles.
Contemporary half maroon morocco, ruled in blind, over marbled boards. Spines ruled in blind and lettered in gilt with five raised bands. Marbled edges. Armorial bookplate of Viscount Chersley on front pastedown in each volume. A near fine copy. OCLC locates only four copies: UCLA, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the University of Victoria, and Cambridge University. KVK locates an additional three copies: the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, and the Library of Congress.
Mrs. Barbara Hofland (1770-1844) “was the daughter of Robert Wreaks, a Sheffield manufacturer, who died when she was an infant. She was brought up by an aunt and in 1796 married T. Bradshawe Hoole, a merchant, by whom she had a son. Hoole’s death from consumption two years later left her wealthy but the money was subsequently lost through a bad investment, and she turned to writing. A volume of Poems (1805) attracted 2,000 subscribers, mainly out of sympathy. She opened a boarding school at Harrogate on the proceeds, and when this failed she began to write fiction. The History of a Clergyman’s Widow (1812) sold 17,000 copies in various editions. In 1808 she married the landscape painter Thomas Cristopher Hofland (1777-1843). The precariousness of an artist’s life together with Hofland’s natural improvidence and subsequent illness meant that she had to work even harder at her fiction. By 1824 she had produced upwards of twenty titles, the most successful of which, and probably her best, was The Son of a Genius , which drew on her experience of the artistic temperament and also on the emotional legacy of her son’s death from consumption. She followed it with The Daughter of a Genius (1823). She was a popular as well as prolific writer although her fiction, which extended to nearly seventy works, was remorselessly didactic in tone. Towards the end of her career she turned out conventional Victorian three-deckers, including The Czarina (1842), The King’s Son (1843), The Unloved One (1844), and Daniel Dennison (1846). She was also an energetic journalist, having begun as early as 1795 with ‘Characteristics of Some Leading Inhabitants of Sheffield’, which she published in the Sheffield Courant. She expanded this vein later by contributing gossipy letters about London literary life to provincial newspapers. Her children’s books include both history and travel and, despite their moralizing, are attractive and readable. Hofland was a friend of Mary Russell Mitford” (The Oxford to British Women Writers).
“[Mrs. Hofland’s] work for children includes imaginative textbooks (she centres both histories and travels on invented young people). Some simplified moral judgments apart, it is intelligent and readable. Depth and variety is added in adult works like Iwanowa, or The Maid of Moscow, 1813 (Richardsonian letters; clash of armies and cultures), Katherine, 1828 (delicate psychological analysis of misunderstandings in love), The Captives in India, 1834 (effective use of Eliza Fay), and The King’s Son, 1843 (fictional vindication of Richard III)” (The Feminist Companion to Literature in English).
Block, pp. 109-110. CBEL III, 734. CBEL (3) IV, 934. Not in Sadleir or in Wolff, who had only two of her works—The Captives in India, A Tale; and A Widow and a Will (1834) and A Season in Harrogate (1812).