Seventeenth & Eighteenth Century Fiction. All books first editions and first printings, except as stated.

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This is the ROBERT TEMPLE BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ARCHIVE. It contains descriptions and notes relating to almost 18,000 titles in the fields of British and American literature, being the bulk of the stock that has passed through our hands since 1984, with the addition of a few earlier items of especial interest. Books currently in stock are not included, and it is therefore necessary to supplement your search by looking at our Current Catalogues. For the most part full bibliographical descriptions are given, though for some earlier items, catalogued when computing space was more restricted the details given are quite brief. For an account of the conventions adopted, the abbreviations used, and reference sources consulted, please see our information pages.




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ROBERT TEMPLE BOOKSELLERS BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ARCHIVE, File B: Seventeenth & Eighteenth Century Fiction. All books first editions and first printings, except as stated.

THOMSON (Mrs.) Emily Dundorne; Or, The effects of Early impressions: A novel, In three volumes. By Mrs. Thomson, Author of Robert and Adela de Montfort, Excessive Sensibility, Fatal Follies, The Labyrinth of Life, &c. &c. Printed by and for Sampson Low, Berwick Street, Soho; And sold by C. Law, Ave-Maria Lane, 1799.12mo; half-title not present, probably not called for (though the title leaf is a single inset); pp.[ii]+192; contemporary (probably publisher's) quarter sheep, red spine label, ruled and lettered gilt on spine, marbled sides. Volume three only; slight wear to corners of boards; name on upper margin of title-page; otherwise a nice copy.

Not in Block, who does, however, record five other novels by this author, published between 1787 and 1807, including the three here listed.

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ROBERT TEMPLE BOOKSELLERS BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ARCHIVE, File B: Seventeenth & Eighteenth Century Fiction. All books first editions and first printings, except as stated.



The First Detective Novel?


VOLTAIRE (Mr. [François Arouet de]). Zadig; Or, the Book of Fate. An Oriental History, Translated from the French Original Of Mr. Voltaire. London: Printed for Iohn [sic] Brindley, Bookseller To His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, in New Bond-street, 1749. Pott 12mo format, not watermarked; engraved frontispiece and title-page, on copper, precede Dedication; half-title and letterpress title-page not called for; final blank; pp.[xii (not including engraved leaves)]+238+[ii]; A6, B - I, K - L12; contemporary, possibly publisher's, full sheep, spine with five bands raised over cords, ruled gilt. Sheep worn at corners and boards detached, spine rubbed, and chipped a little at head- and tail- bands; text with light foxing throughout, and one or two scattered small stains; a very good copy, nonetheless, of a scarce title.

The first English edition of a book published in French in 1747. Regarded by Hubin as the first detective novel, and referred to by Haycraft (p.40 n.) in his discussion of Gaboriau, it is also said to have had an influence on Poe. A humorous and salacious tale, it is regarded, along with ‘Candide', as being amongst Voltaire's finest work. It is methodologically detective in places, but not criminous. CBEL, 2:1535, suggesting the translation may have been by J. Collyer; Block, p.246; ESTC T137905; Hubin, p.418.

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ROBERT TEMPLE BOOKSELLERS BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ARCHIVE, File B: Seventeenth & Eighteenth Century Fiction. All books first editions and first printings, except as stated.

[WARD (Edward).]. A Frolick To Horn-Fair. With a Walk from Cuckold's-point Thro' Deptford and Greenwich. London, Printed and Sold by J. How, in the Ram-Head- Inn-Yard, In Fanchurch-Street, [sic] 1700 [for 1699].Pott folio; half-title not called for; advertisements on verso of title leaf of 10 "Books Sold by J. How, in the Ram-Head-Inn-Yard in Fanchurch-Street; J. Weld, at the Crown between the Temple-Gates in Fleet-street; [sic] and Mrs. Fabian, at Mercers-Chappel in Cheap-side.... All Written by the same Author"; [A]-D2; pp.16; recent marbled boards. Some dusting and soiling, several short tears and minute chips in extreme margins, larger chips to blank corners of folio C, pen-trial on one margin; an acceptable copy nonetheless, considering its format and the popular nature of the book, of a scarce title: in uncut state.

A picaresque narrative of a mildly scabrous kind, the flavour of which is given by the opening: "When the near approach of Horn-Fair had Conjur'd up the Spirit of Cuckoldome in the Dissatisfied Minds of abundance of City Wives... I happen'd (from the Hands of a sorrowful young Lady, who had griev'd for some time under the Weakness and Imbecility of an Infirm Husband) to receive this following SUMMONS, to attend her person to Charlton, on the 18th of October, in order to Redress those Intollerable Grievances, which she wanted in all Love to exhibit unto me...." Apparently a spin-off from Ward's best-known fiction, ‘The London Spy', which appeared in eighteen 16pp. monthly folio parts between 1698 and 1700. The advertisements in the present copy record only the first eleven parts of ‘The London Spy' as published, the work "To be Continued Monthly." As these advertisements also include ‘The World Bewitch'd. A Dialogue between Two Astrologers and the Author. With Infallible Predictions of what will happen in this Present Year, 1699', it looks certain that the present work was issued likewise in that year, and dated ahead. Wing, W735; CBEL, II, p.598; not in Esdaile or McBurney. In this copy at l.25 on p.12 has the reading ‘this, House' for ‘this House,'.

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ROBERT TEMPLE BOOKSELLERS BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ARCHIVE, File B: Seventeenth & Eighteenth Century Fiction. All books first editions and first printings, except as stated.

[WARD (Edward).]. A Step To Stir-Bitch-Fair: With Remarks Upon the University Of Cambridge. London, Printed and Sold by J. How, in the Ram-Head Inn-Yard, In Fanchurch-street, [sic] 1700.Pott folio; half-title not called for; advertisements of 21 titles "Printed and Sold by J. How, in the Ram-Head-Inn-Yerd [sic] in Fenchurch-Street; [sic] and by M. Fabian, at Mercers-Chappel" on verso of title leaf; [A]-D2; pp.16; recent marbled boards. Some dusting and soiling and minor creasing; pen-trial on one margin; an acceptable copy nonetheless of a scarce title, in uncut state.

A picaresque narrative written by an early example of a yellow journalist, taking the trip to and beyond Cambridge as a peg on which to hang frequently bawdy anecdotes and comment. The narrative element predominates, but there are brief descriptions of curiosities such as the "great Bed of Ware", Audley End, Cambridge ("The Buildings in many parts of the Town were so little and so low, that they looked more like Hutts for Pigmies, than Houses for Men; and their very Shop-keepers seem'd to me to be so well-siz'd to their Habitations, that they appeared like so many Monkeys in their Diminutive Shops mimicking the Trade of London."), "Bawdy-Barnwel, so call'd from the Numerous Brothel-Houses it contains for the Health, Ease, and Pleasure of the Learned Vicinity" (and where, he alleges, discounts were available for Students), a book auction, and of course the Fair. Though biased towards the sleasier side of things, the piece gives a good impression of the feel and manners of the everyday life of its time. Apparently a spin-off from Ward's best-known work, ‘The London Spy', which appeared in eighteen 16pp. monthly folio parts between 1698 and 1700, and is here advertised as complete. Wing, W757; CBEL, II, p.598; not in Esdaile or McBurney. Besides the errata noted above, the following have been noted in this copy: p.6, l.45, ‘ot' for ‘to'; p.7, l.43, ‘Pdigeons' for ‘Pigeons'; p.9, l.32, ‘o' in ‘Pharoah' printed very faint; p.13, l.21, ‘Street' for ‘Streets'; p.14, last line, ‘a the in Tythe' for ‘the Tythe in a'.

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ROBERT TEMPLE BOOKSELLERS BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ARCHIVE, File B: Seventeenth & Eighteenth Century Fiction. All books first editions and first printings, except as stated.

[WARD (Edward).]. The London-Spy Compleat, In Eighteen-Parts. By the Author of the Trip to Jamaica. London, [sic] Printed and Sold by J. How, at the Se- Ven Stars in Talbot-Court in Grace- Church-street [sic], [sic] 1703. Post 8vo [not watermarked]; nothing apparently called for before title-page; 43 entry Errata and Advertisement for the ‘Second volume of Mr. Edward Ward's Writings in Large Octavo' on verso of last leaf of text; pp.[iv]+240+247 - 437+[i]; [A]2, B - I, K - U, X - Z, Aa - Ea8; twentieth century full mottled calf after a period model, ruled and tooled blind on sides, spine with five raised bands tooled gilt, elaborately tooled gilt in compartments, tan lettering piece; period style end-papers. Hole in H8 with loss of three or four words on each side of the leaf, small chip to blank lower fore-margin of I7, worm hole between running head rules of gathering N, not affecting text, barely noticeable worm-hole affecting blank upper margin of leaves X1-3; repair to blank fore-margin of T1; a few gatherings lightly embrowned; otherwise a very nice copy.

From the library of Eric Quayle with his Zennor bookplate on the front paste-down together with his pencilled notes. His signed ink-note on the bookplate records that the volume was rebound in December 1974 by R. Booth Mabe Penryn Cornwall. An explorative description of the London of the time within a fictive frame including a number of short stories (such as that of the Turkish Bath attendant and the lady of the town . . .) written by the original yellow journalist and very readable still to-day. Originally issued in eighteen separate parts folio between November 1698 and April 1700 and here first collected. In this copy probably as always G3 is signed B4 p.410 is mis-paged 401 and on pp.156 192 204 214 and 240 the part number is placed at the outer margin the page number at the inner margin instead of the other way around. The discontinuity of pagination after p.240 does not indicate any lack: it occurs at the end of gathering ‘Q' and gathering ‘R' is paged 247. The catchwords also carry through. NCBEL II 1092; ESTC T119938; Foxon p.851.

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ROBERT TEMPLE BOOKSELLERS BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ARCHIVE, File B: Seventeenth & Eighteenth Century Fiction. All books first editions and first printings, except as stated.

WHITEHEAD (Thomas). Original anecdotes of the late Duke of Kingston and Miss Chudleigh, alias Mrs Hervey, alias Countess of Bristol, alias Duchess of Kingston: interspersed with memoirs of several of the nobility and gentry now living. Written in a series of letters to a gentleman. London: Printed by S. Bladon, 1792. Pp.[iv]+198. Contemporary red straight grained morocco, lettered and dated in gold on the spine, boards gilt-ruled; a.e.g. A fine copy.

From the library of William Beckford, and bearing a ms. note in his hand on the fly-leaf referring to a passage on p.93 dealing with the culinary whims of pregnant women, where we read: ‘"These instances are nothing" says Miss Chudleigh: "I know a Mrs. C----y in Dorsetshire, not a hundred miles from Blandford, who longed for a man's ---." The ladies all expressed their surprise." Beckford was sceptical, and comments drily: "Surprise expressed without cause - ". This volume appeared as Lot 471 in the 4th part of the Beckford sale. A pleasant association copy of a novel that is in any case extremely rare, ESTC recording the British Library copy only in England. Orr, Checklist of English Prose Fiction, 1750-1800, 874. Whitehead, described in NUC as ‘Valet de Chambre' confesses in the Preface that this scandal novel would never have been written, but for "some disappointments and ill-treatment he experienced; which the reader will discover in the body of the work".

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ROBERT TEMPLE BOOKSELLERS BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ARCHIVE, File B: Seventeenth & Eighteenth Century Fiction. All books first editions and first printings, except as stated.

[WILKINSON (James).]. Hau kiou choaan: Or The Pleasing History. A Translation From the Chinese language. To which are added, I. The Argument or Story of a Chinese Play, II. A Collection of Chinese Proverbs, and III. Fragments of Chinese Poetry. In four volumes [this omitted in volumes II, III, and IV]. With notes. Vol.I [II; III; IV]. London [so in first volume; other volumes have colon] Printed for R. and J. Dodsley in Pall-mall, 1761.4 Vols., pott 8vo; half-title present in volume one, not called for in other volumes; integral blank precedes frontispiece in volume two; binder's blank before frontispiece in volumes three and four, one at end of text in each volume; large folding engraved frontispiece in each volume (that to volume one partly re-hinged); Index to the notes and Errata to all four volumes (including two lines of Errata Omitted) at end of volume four; leaf O4 in volume four is here a cancel, as usual; A8, a8, B-I, K-Q8; [A]2, B-I, K-T8, U2; [A]1, B-I, K-S8; [A]1, B-I, K-S8, [ ]4; pp.[xxxii]+240; [iv]+292; [ii]+272; [ii]+256+[xv (unpaged)]+[i (blank)]+[viii (unpaged, versos blank); contemporary full calf, pleasantly rebacked in period style, applied spines with five raised bands, ruled gilt and blind, red labels; original end-papers preserved. A little very light foxing of a few leaves; light dampstaining of a few margins, touching text on four leaves only of the notes at end of volume three and two at end of volume four; otherwise, and in general effect, a nice crisp copy.

An abridged version of one of the Ten Masterpieces of Chinese Fiction, translated, apparently, in 1719, and here first published posthumously, Wilkinson having died in 1736. The play, proverbs, poetry, etc. included in volume four were found together with the novel among Wilkinson's effects, but were in a Portuguese translation, and in a different hand. They are here translated into English by by Dr. Thomas Percy, Bishop of Dromore, who also supplied the (often extensive) notes and bibliography. According to Percy's introductions, this is the first extended Chinese novel to have appeared in any European language, and the second play. In this copy p.53, l.3, in Volume I has the reading ‘rel ted' for ‘related': state or issue significance unknown. CBEL, ii, p.552, erroneously ascribing the translation of the novel to Percy; Block, p.253; Raven, 612; Cordier, 1107; Lust, 1755; Rothschild, 1520, erroneously describing the novel as translated from the Portuguese.

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ROBERT TEMPLE BOOKSELLERS BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ARCHIVE, File B: Seventeenth & Eighteenth Century Fiction. All books first editions and first printings, except as stated.

WILLIAMS (Helen Maria).]. Paul and Virginia. Translated from the French of Bernardin Saint-Pierre; By Helen Maria Williams, Author of letters on the French revolution, Julia a novel, poems, &c. No place, no publisher, no printer, 1795.Lge.post 8vo in half sheets; half-title, title, three leaves of Preface, and fly-title, precede start of text (the conjugate half- and fly- titles being apparently an afterthought, and not included in either the pagination or the signatures); A6 (the third leaf being signed ‘A2'), B-I, K-U, X-Z, Aa-Ii, Kk-Ll4, Mm1; pp.[2]+viii+[2]+9-274; contemporary full sheep, ruled gilt on spine; sprinkled edges. Leather worn at corners, and on spine, chipped at tail of spine, and cracked over joints; a little light foxing of some two or three leaves, and a few leaves towards the end lightly damp marked; a few light pencil notes (v. below); otherwise a nice copy.

CBEL, II, p.386; Block, pp.204-5: the first edition of this translation, and the first to bear the original title; this title not in Rothschild. Preceded in date of publication by David Malthus's translation which appeared in 1789 (the same year as the first separate French edition) under the title ‘Paul and Mary'. Helen Maria Williams was living in France when the Revolution began, and her translation "was written at Paris, amidst the horrors of Robspierre's tyranny". The translator's six page Preface gives an interesting incidental impression of life there at that time. Scattered throughout are a number of original sonnets by the translator, more or less used as dividers for the chapters, and these are here first printed. The pencil notes correct literals in the text, and in one case provide amplification of a botanical name. This first edition may have been privately issued. An avowed ‘Second Edition' was issued the following year bearing the imprint of Vernor and Hood, with an engraved title-page by H. Richter and five engraved plates after Liagée and Lefevre, none of which are called for in this first edition.

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