London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1820. Item #01087
By The Actual "Obscure But Remarkable Author"
[LESTER, Elizabeth B. ]. [Erroneously attributed to Mrs. Ross]. Tales of the Imagination. By the Author of The Bachelor and the Married Man, The Physioignomist, and Hesitation…In Three Volumes. London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1820.
First edition. Three twelvemo volumes (6 13/16 x 4 in; 173 x 103 mm). [4. blank], , 227, [5, blank]; [4, blank], , 261, [5, blank]; [4, blank], , 252, [4, blank] pp.
Contemporary quarter calf over marbled boards ruled in gilt. Spines with four raised bands ruled and lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers, marbled edges. Joints a little rubbed but sound. Small, almost invisible 19th century blank library label on each spine. Bookplate of the Loyal Alyth Public Library on front paste down of both volumes. A few of the library's inked stamp to some leaves, mainly blanks. A very good set of a difficult to find title.
Volume I: Genius. Volumes II & III: Enthusiasm.
This book was, up until quite recently, attributed to Mrs. Ross, the "obscure but remarkable author " (Feminist Companion to Literature in English, pp 922-23) of thirteen anonymously written, respected novels of the Romantic Movement. which produced "an influential generation of women writers, including M. Wollstonecraft, D. Wordsworth, M. Shelley and the Bronte sisters (Oxford Companion to English Literature, p. 843). Recent research, however, has firmly established that six of these thirteen novels, each possessing a "confident-seeming literary style, and broad evangelical emphasis" (Garside) were, in fact, written by Mrs. Elizabeth B. Lester, of whom, alas, little is known.
An extremely rare book with only eight copies located in OCLC and KVK, no auction records, and scarce in the marketplace.
Garside, Raven and Schöwerling 1820: 45. Wolff 5974 (sub Ross). Garside, Mrs. Ross and Elizabeth B. Lester: New Atributions, Cardiff Corvey: Reading the Romantic Text 2 (June 1998).