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.
| [ correspondence archive main page ]
||William Gifford to Edward Copleston
May 31, 1811
| [ transcription conventions ]
Devon 1149M/F91. 4pp. Date at top: May 31, 1811
May 31st. 1811
My dear Sir,
"Star after star goes out, and all is night"1—I have had so many disappointments in this No. that I scarcely know how I shall be able to make it out.
I have not yet rec'd the Article from Scotland—what is more to be lamented, I fear, is, that we are all wrong with respect to the writer.2 By this morning's post, I had a note from Home Drummond communicating, under secrecy, his name, which, notwithstanding the injunction, I think it necessary to mention to you. It is not Brown but Napier—a person of whom I know nothing. Is he known to you? Heber is in Yorkshire. At his return, I shall also mention the name to him: & to no other person living.
I must look forward to better prospects. Will your leisure, my dear Sir, allow of your assisting us in the next? I hope it will. There is a work worthy of your talents which Oxford has lately sent forth; I mean Lord Clarendon's two volumes.3 We have not yet taken up the Catholick Question; and I should be happy to get a grand view of it, as bearing upon the present times. There is also a volume by a man of the name of Ensor, full of conceit, arrogance and mischief.4 He merits a castigation from you, & a smart one would do good; for some people are pushing his work forward. I merely take the liberty of hinting at these; but, in fact, I shall be equally pleased with any subject which may engage your fancy. There are, I think, many interesting works just out of the press.
Falconer is the first Article in this No. He makes nearly two sheets—by far too much for such a subject; but I was willing to gratify him. The only interesting part of the Article, to the general reader, is most assuredly that which you were kind enough to append.5
I regret that our theological articles are not so strong, generally speaking, as they ought to be. A good subject is rather inadequately handled in this No.6 It is from Cam where they seem to neglect style, or rather perhaps to have adopted slovenly models. I have taken pains with it, as Ireland could tell you; but cannot much applaud my success.7
I am now anxious to get out, & must fill up as well as I can. More than half the articles on which I had calculated this No. have not reached me; and I am even now doubtful of Stewart.8 However, I must proceed: [tear] sheet, I think, are printed. [tear] hear nothing of Mr Davison [is he at] Oriel?—Have you looke [tear] into that strange mess of vanity & [tear] impertinence, the collected letters of Miss Seward? She would make a good Article; but I know not where to apply.9
I should be delighted to hear more frequently from you; and should myself often trouble you, if I were not fearful of breaking in upon your studies.
Ever my dear Sir, most
P.S. I hope your friend will send me
Marchmont Charlemont as soon as it is finished that we may put it forward for No.11.
Postmark: May 31, 1811