London: Dean & Munday, [ca. 1820s]. First edition? There is also a twenty-four-page Derby edition from T. Richardson. We have been unable to establish priority. Both editions are scarce: OCLC records only three copies of this edition (UCLA, the Huntington, Princeton) and three of the T. Richardson (University of Alberta, Cambridge, NYPL, University of Kentucky). With a hand-colored frontispiece of two women dressed in early nineteenth century gowns. Offsetting to title-page, otherwise a very good, clean copy. Modern gray paper wrappers. 4 x 7 in. 36 pp. Item #17162
A sensational novel of a young woman who leaves her modest country life to find employment in the corrupt and fast-paced city. Though besieged by the advances of men, Fanny Bilson maintains her honor and escapes back to the safety of her father’s home, now with a reputable gentleman on her arm.
Seduction novels — in which a young woman is exposed to corrupting forces and either escapes with her honor or, much more often, dies without it — were a popular staple of late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth-century literature. These novels provided their largely female readership with both salacious stories and the “moral” endings that kept public outrage at bay. Hallmarks of the genre include Susanna Rowson’s Charlotte Temple (1791) and Hannah Webster Foster’s The Coquette (1797), as well as early blueprints like Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa (1747).