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Sublimely Bad

Terry Castle

23 February 1995
Secresy; or, The Ruin on the Rock 
by Eliza Fenwick, edited by Isobel Grundy.
Broadview, 359 pp., £9.99, May 1994, 1 55111 014 8
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... end, perhaps, than silly-pastoral and the fleeting satisfactions of camp. The case for reading Secresy has to be made on more compelling grounds. One might begin by pointing, as Fenwick’s editor IsobelGrundy does (somewhat briefly) in her Introduction, to Secresy’s broader historical significance: what it reveals about the rise of female authorship in 18th-century Britain. Problematic though ...

One of the Pyramids of Egypt

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

27 May 1999
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Comet of the Enlightenment 
by Isobel Grundy.
Oxford, 680 pp., £30, April 1999, 0 19 811289 0
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... by handing her ‘the rough draught of a certain famous line in the “Characters of Women” ’. Woolf may have intended her mock-biography as an affectionate portrait of Vita Sackville-West, but IsobelGrundy is surely right in thinking that these episodes in Orlando’s career were primarily inspired by the life and letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Of course Lady Mary was not herself Britain ...

Docility Rampant

Margaret Anne Doody

31 October 1996
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Romance Writings 
edited by Isobel Grundy.
Oxford, 276 pp., £14.50, August 1996, 0 19 812288 8
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... Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) is known to us as the author of travel writings, witty poems and remarkable letters. If it were not for IsobelGrundy’s diligent work in the archives, we should not know that Lady Mary also produced prose fiction. This is hardly strange. She published in her own time neither the travel writings nor (of course) her ...

Self-Made Women

John Sutherland

11 July 1991
The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present 
edited by Virginia Blain, Isobel Grundy and Patricia Clements.
Batsford, 1231 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 7134 5848 8
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The Presence of the Present: Topics of the Day in the Victorian Novel 
by Richard Altick.
Ohio State, 854 pp., $45, March 1991, 0 8142 0518 6
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... information strikes one as unusually reliable, and it often tacitly corrects previous reference sources. The bulk of the entries, apparently, were principally written by the three executive editors (IsobelGrundy taking responsibility for the early period, Virginia Blain for the Victorian and Edwardian periods, Patricia Clements for the 20th century). The supporting mass of scholars, one gathers, was ...
5 April 1990
Henry Fielding: A Life 
by Martin Battestin and Ruthe Battestin.
Routledge, 738 pp., £29.50, October 1989, 0 415 01438 7
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New Essays 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Martin Battestin.
Virginia, 604 pp., $50, November 1989, 0 8139 1221 0
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The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding. The True Patriot, and Related Writings 
edited by W.B. Coley.
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An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers, and Related Writings 
edited by Malvin Zirker.
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The Covent-Garden Journal and A Plan of the Universal Register Office 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Bertrand Goldgar.
Oxford, 446 pp., £50, December 1988, 0 19 818511 1
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Fielding and the Woman Question: The Novels of Henry Fielding and the Feminist Debate 1700-1750 
by Angela Smallwood.
Harvester, 230 pp., £35, March 1989, 0 7108 0639 6
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... himself Scriblerus Secundus, after their famous coterie the Scriblerus Club. One of his earliest poems, however, was an unfinished mock-Dunciad against them, discovered some twenty years ago by IsobelGrundy among the papers of his cousin Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Fielding seems to have been playing on Lady Mary’s hostility to Pope and his friends, and may have hoped through her influence to ...

A Favourite of the Laws

Ruth Bernard Yeazell

13 June 1991
Married Women’s Separate Property in England, 1660-1833 
by Susan Staves.
Harvard, 290 pp., £27.95, April 1990, 0 674 55088 9
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The Bluestocking Circle: Women, Friendship and the Life of the Mind in 18th-century England 
by Sylvia Harcstark Myers.
Oxford, 342 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 19 811767 1
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Portrait of a Friendship: Drawn from New Letters of James Russell Lowell to Sybella Lady Lyttleton 1881-1891 
by Alethea Hayter.
Michael Russell, 267 pp., £16.95, September 1990, 0 85955 167 9
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Fierce Communion: Family and Community in Early America 
by Helena Wall.
Harvard, 243 pp., £23.95, August 1990, 0 674 29958 2
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... obtain a clearer impression of these women’s contributions by consulting the relevant brief entries in the recent Feminist Companion to Literature, edited by Virginia Blain, Patricia Clements and IsobelGrundy.* As a critic, Myers confines herself largely to paraphrase; her occasional glosses are flat and pedestrian. The strongest part of the book is the concluding section, which traces the ...

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