You can listen to Episode 1 of Season 3 of the WPHP Monthly Mercury, "By the Author of..." on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and other podcast apps, available via Buzzsprout.

In 1808, The Woman of Colour was anonymously published, its byline simply reading “By the author of "Light and Shade," "The Aunt and the Niece," "Ebersfield Abby", &c.” These referenced titles—Light and Shade, The Aunt and the Niece, and Eversfield Abbey (the last of which is incorrectly spelled on The Woman of Colour’s title page)—link to more titles, and no author’s name. This attribution chain, in fact, spans more than 18 titles between 1795 and 1817, and while some are confidently attributed to a Mrs. E.M. Foster, the authorship of some of the later titles, including The Woman of Colour, is dubious. 

The mystery of who wrote The Woman of Colour is driven by the fact that the work is deeply sympathetic towards the novel’s main character, Olivia, a biracial heiress from the Caribbean, during a period when such portrayals in print were uncommon. In this episode, we don't set out to solve it; rather, we talk about the other titles most closely linked to it through the attribution chain and how they might help us contextualize this work's position in the literary marketplace. The WPHP has two fields that capture information about authors: the contributors field, where person records are attached with a defining role, such as “author,” and the signed author field, which captures how the author’s identity is presented on the book itself. This signed author field in particular piqued Kandice’s interest in The Woman of Colour—it captures the long and tangled attribution chain formed by the bylines of eighteen individual titles.

(We’ve included a helpful table, below, that lists each of the titles in the attribution chain and hyperlinks to any title listed in the byline of another work, and includes the primary publisher for each. Click the first part of each title to be taken to their title records, where you can see more information about their publication, including any additional printers or booksellers.)

Episode 1 of Season 3 of The WPHP Monthly Mercury, “By the Author of…” shows Kandice and Kate diving into this tangled attribution chain, asking, which titles are attached to which? How many times? Who published them? What layers of influence do they reveal? Featuring audio from a podcast brainstorming session, this episode invites listeners behind-the-scenes and into the delightfully messy reality of research (and podcasting!) to kick off Season 3 of The WPHP Monthly Mercury

 

Attribution Chain Title Table

Year Title Publisher
1795 The Duke of Clarence. An historical novel. In four volumes. By E. M. F. Minerva Press, William Lane
1798 Jaquelina of Hainault: an historical novel, in three volumes, by the author of "the Duke of Clarence." Joseph Bell
1799 Rebecca. A Novel. In Two Volumes. Minerva Press, William Lane
1799 Fedaretta. A Novel, By a Lady; Embellished with a Frontispiece. Crosby and Letterman
1800 Judith. A novel. In two volumes. By the author of Rebecca, Miriam, Fitzmorris, &c. Minerva Press, William Lane
1800 Miriam. A novel. In two volumes. By the author of Frederic & Caroline, Rebecca, Judith, &c. Minerva Press, William Lane
1800 Frederic & Caroline, or the Fitzmorris Family. A novel. In two volumes. By the author of Rebecca, Judith, Miriam, &c. Minerva Press, William Lane
1800 Emily of Lucerne. A novel. In two volumes. By the author of the Duke of Clarence. Minerva Press, William Lane
1801 Concealment, or the Cascade of Llantwarryhn. A Tale. In Two Volumes. By the Author of Miriam, Judith Fedaretta, &c. Minerva Press, William Lane
1803 Light and Shade: A Novel. By the Author of Federetta; Rebecca; Miriam; and Concealment, or the Cascade of Lantwarrybn. George and John Robinson
1804 The Aunt and the Niece. A novel. In two volumes. Minerva Press, Lane, Newman, and Co.
1806 Eversfield Abbey: A Novel. By the Authoress of The Aunt and the Niece. Benjamin Crosby and Co.
1807 A Winter in Bath. In four volumes. By the author of two popular novels. Benjamin Crosby and Co.
1808 The Banks of the Wye: or, Two Summers at Clifton. In four volumes. By the author of A Winter in Bath, &c. &c. Benjamin Crosby and Co.
1808 The Woman of Colour. By the author of "Light and Shade," "The Aunt and the Niece," "Ebersfield Abby", &c. In two volumes. Hannah Black, Parry, and Kingsbury
1809 The Corinna of England, and a Heroine in the Shade; A Modern Romance, by the Author of "The Winter in Bath," "The Banks of the Wye," "The Woman of Colour," "Light and Shade," &c. &c. Benjamin Crosby and Co.
1810 Black Rock House; or, Dear Bought Experience. A novel. By the author of "A Winter in Bath," "Eversfield Abbey," "The Corinna of England," "Banks of the Wye," "The Woman of Colour," &c. &c. &c. In three volumes. Benjamin Crosby and Co.
1811 The Dead Letter Office; and a Tale for the English Farmer's Fire-Side. By the author of Corinna of England, Winter in Bath, Eversfield Abbey, Woman of Colour, Banks of the Wye, &c. &c. Benjamin Crosby and Co.
1812 Substance and Shadow; or, The Fisherman's Daughters of Brighton. A Patchwork Story. In four volumes. By the author of Light and Shade; Eversfield Abbey; Banks of the Wye; Aunt and Niece, &c. &c. Minerva Press, A. K. Newman and Co.
1814 The Splendour of Adversity: A Domestic Story. In three volumes. By the author of Black Rock House, Winter in Bath, Corinna of England, The Dead Letter Office, &c. &c. Benjamin and Richard Crosby and Co.
1817 The Revealer of Secrets; or The House that Jack Built, a new story upon an old foundation. In three volumes. By the author of Eversfield Abbey, Banks of the Wye, Aunt and Niece, Substance and Shadow, &c. &c. Minerva Press, A. K. Newman and Co.

 

Credits:

Produced by: Kate Moffatt, Kandice Sharren, and Michelle Levy

Music by: Ignatius Sancho, “Sweetest Bard”, A Collection of New Songs (1769) from https://brycchancarey.com/sancho/bard.jpg, and played by Kandice Sharren

 

WPHP Monthly Mercury Episodes Referenced

Season 1, Episode 10: "A Brief History of Delarivier Manley (feat. Kate Ozment)"

 

WPHP Sources Referenced

The English Novel 1770-1829

 

WPHP Records Referenced

Austen, Jane (person, author)

Burney, Frances (person, author)

The Woman of Colour (title)

Sense and Sensibility (title)

Churchill, Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough (person, author)

An abridgment of the secret history of Crete. Translated out of Greek; and humbly dedicated to His Grace the Duke of Cambridge. Never printed in English before. By Greg's Ghost. (title)

Guénard, Elisabeth (person, author)

Light and Shade (title)

The Aunt and the Niece (title)

Eversfield Abbey (title)

Fedaretta (title)

Rebecca (title)

Miriam (title)

Concealment, or the Cascade of Lantwarryhn (title)

Foster, Mrs. E. M. (person, author)

Crosby and Letterman (firm)

Frederic & Caroline (title)

Judith (title)

The Corinna of England (title)

Black Rock House (title)

The Dead Letter Office (title)

The Duke of Clarence (title)

The Banks of the Wye (title)

A Winter in Bath (title)

James Fletcher Hughes (firm)

A Winter at Bath; or, Love As It May Be, and Friendship As It Ought To Be (title)

Bayfield, Mrs. E. G. (person, author)

Benjamin Crosby and Co. (firm)

Minerva Press, William Lane (firm)

Minerva Press, A.K. Newman and Co. (firm)

The Revealer of Secrets (title)

Northanger Abbey (title)

Joseph Bell (firm)

Jaquelina of Hainault (title)

George and John Robinson (firm)

Hannah Black, Parry, and Kingsbury (firm)

Radcliffe, Ann (person, author)

Black, Hannah (person, firm)

Letters on the Improvement of the Mind (title)

Chapone, Hester Mulso (person, author)

The British Novelists (title)

Barbauld, Anna Letitia (person, author)

 

Works Cited

Anonymous. The Woman of Colour: A Tale. Edited by Lyndon J. Dominique, Broadview Press, 2008.

Brown, Susan, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, eds. "Mrs. EM Foster Profile," Orlando: Women's Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present, Cambridge University Press, 2022, https://orlando.cambridge.org/index.php/profiles/fostem. Accessed 2022-06-29.

Dominique, Lyndon J. ‘Introduction’. The Woman of Colour, edited by Lyndon J. Dominique, Broadview Press, 2008, pp. 11–42.

Garside, Peter. ‘The English Novel in the Romantic Era: Consolidation and Dispersal’. The English Novel, 1770–1829: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction Published in the British Isles, edited by Peter Garside et al., vol. 2, Oxford UP, 2000.

Garside, Peter, James Raven, and Rainer Schöwerling, eds. The English Novel 1770-1829. Oxford University Press, 2000.

Harol, Corrinne, et al. ‘Reflections: Who Wrote It? The Woman of Colour and Adventures in Stylometry’. Eighteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 32, no. 2, Dec. 2019, pp. 341–53. 

Neiman, Elizabeth A. Minerva’s Gothics: The Politics and Poetics of Romantic Exchange, 1780–1820. University of Wales Press, 2019.

Salih, S. Representing Mixed Race in Jamaica and England from the Abolition Era to the Present. Routledge, 2011. 

 

Further Reading

Aravamudan, Srinivas. Tropicopolitans: Colonialism and Agency, 1688-1804. Duke University Press, 1999.

Bandry-Scubbi, Anne. “Chawton Novels Online, Women’s Writing 1751-1834 and Computer-Aided Textual Analysis”. ABO: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts, 1640-1830, vol. 5,  no. 2, Article 1.

Baugh, Victoria. ‘Mixed-Race Heiresses in Early-Nineteenth-Century Literature: Sanditon ’s Miss Lambe in Context’. European Romantic Review, vol. 29, no. 4, July 2018, pp. 449–58. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1080/10509585.2018.1487373.

Blain, Virginia, et al. ‘Foster, Mrs E.M.’ The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present, B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1990, p. 388.

Bordoni, Sylvia. ‘Introduction’. The Corinna of England, and a Heroine in the Shade; a Modern Romance, edited by Sylvia Bordoni, Pickering and Chatto, 2008, pp. vii–xvii.

Daut, Marlene L. Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865. Liverpool University Press, 2015. 

Fielder, Brigitte. Relative Races: Genealogies of Interracial Kinship in Nineteenth-Century America. Duke University Press, 2020.

Fielder, Brigitte. ‘The Woman of Colour and Black Atlantic Movement’. Women’s Narratives of the Early Americas and the Formation of Empire, edited by Mary McAleer Balkun and Susan C. Imbarrato, Palgrave Macmillan US, 2016, pp. 171–85.

Reed, Jennifer. ‘Moving Fortunes: Caribbean Women’s Marriage, Mobility, and Money in the Novel of Sentiment’. Eighteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 31, no. 3, Mar. 2019, pp. 509–28. 

Vareschi, Mark. Everywhere and Nowhere: Anonymity and Mediation in Eighteenth-Century Britain. University of Minnesota Press, 2018.

This podcast draws on research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. 

 

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