This resource provides a detailed chronology of Mary Shelley's life and work, as well as several contemporary reviews of her novels and of a play inspired by Frankenstein.
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||William Gifford to Edward Copleston
Feb. 4, 1812
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Devon 1149/F105. 4 pp. Date at top: Feb. 4, 1812.
[at top in Copleston's hand: Ans. Feb. 10]
Feby 4th. 1812
My dear Sir
I ought to have written to you before, but I have been led on from day to day in the hope of announcing the appearance of the present No.—Our delay has arisen in some measure from Government, who expressed some anxiety about the Article on Java,1 on the fate of which they have scarcely yet made up their minds, though their first determination was that to which we have alluded—& which, I am convinced they must finally adopt. As we only appeared on Saturday,2 I have not yet collected a word as to opinions of us, except that of Holland House, they had read the Article on Trotter ,3 and were greatly pleased with its execution: but I have seen Murray who is full of spirits on the quantity demanded by the booksellers.
I am perfectly sure that your Ensor will be much liked, and that it will be of essential service to us, and to the community.4 In one of the late Critical Reviews (I think, that for Decr.) there was an attempt to uphold him.
I agree with you as to the justice as well as the propriety of extracts—I merely put a query to that which you noticed from a pressing thought that the poor creatures mentioned in it might be mortified—not that I have much tenderness for the feelings of Sir John Carr & Co. The Chinese extract seemed almost too stupid to entertain the reader. It had, indeed, all the perfections which you mention; but I tried, in vain, to make myself merry with them.5
Though we are so late, yet I hope you have discovered that we profited by your kind & salutary advice. I charged Murray on no account to advertise the appearance of the Review until he was quite certain—and, as far as I yet know, he abstained.
I have not ceased to regret that I have nothing from my anonymous correspondent. With the exception of Trotter, who was previously engaged, nothing has appeared in the line which he seems [scribbles] to take: and I am not sufficiently acquainted with his inclinations and pursuits to venture on pointing out any thing in a different track. There is the life of good bishop Hough6—a slight thing, but an excellent subject. There is also a life of Cumberland,7 dully drawn up, but capable of furnishing ground for an interesting article, to one who, like your excellent friend, has lived in the world. There is, moreover, a volume of Erskine's speeches8—not political unfortunately, which might afford amusement, but forensical—Would any one of these, do you think, be acceptable? Or would he be kind enough to choose any other, from among those which appear at the end of our Review? He once mentioned to you that a friend of his, was willing to undertake Sismondi,9 the Italian Historian—but I do not know whether I am to expect it.
I have not forgot the Bullion10—if possible, I will say something about it in this No.
The unfortunate Kett has again taken up his pen—Without humour, taste, knowledge of the world, or any one requisite for the business, he has added a third volume to his Emily. Of all the discarded ladies' maids, whom Hookham keeps locked up in his garrets, & feeds on tea and occasional sips of gin, there is not one so unqualified to amuse as himself. In a former No. we lost much fun, for he fell into the hands of D'Oyly, a good man, but only fit for matter of fact.11
And now, my Dear Sir, will it be in your power to do any thing for us this time? I have but little in hand of any kind, & shall therefore feel doubly thankful for any assistance which you can afford. Still, however, I mean—with your own convenience.
With the truest
esteem, I remain, Dear Sir, your
ever obliged & faithful servt.