Elizabeth in Pink Wrappers


Le Souterrain, ou Matilde, Par Miss Sophie Lee. Traduit de l’Anglois sur la deuxieme Edition. Paris: Theophile Barrois le jeune, 1788.  A recent acquisition.

A Gothic novel set in Elizabethan England, Sophia Lee’s 1785 The recess, or, A tale of other times / by the author of The chapter of accidents (Beinecke call no. Im L515 785R) was a wild success. This particular copy is the third edition of the first French translation. As the translator writes, “Le merveilleux des evenements qui ordinairement diminue la vraisemblance, semble ici la fortifier; car le regne d’Elisabeth fut le regne des aventures romanesques.”

For a scattering of letters by Sophia Lee (complaining about the postman, among others), see Osborn MSS File 17919 and Gen MSS Misc Group 2461 Item F-1. The London editions of Lee’s novels (Chapter of Accidents, Recess, Hermit’s Tale, etc.) were published by Thomas Cadell and, after his retirement and his son Thomas’s partnership with William Davies, by the firm Cadell & Davies. Alongside Lee’s books, the Beinecke holds an archive of business correspondence and accounts for the Cadell & Davies firm, 1793-1836.

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