London: Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly, 1772. First edition of Scott’s penultimate work, which celebrates d’Aubigné’s Protestant resistance against “combined Catholic conspiracy, absolutist court monarchy, and plebeian violence,” (Oxford DNB). Scott also addresses Voltaire’s assertions on the superiority of French culture, and “the new politics of patriotism, Protestantism, and populism,” (ODNB). With the half-title and terminal index. Contemporary ink signature (M. Bouchery) to top margin of preliminary blank. Overall clean aside from some minor foxing. A very good, large, and handsome copy. Contemporary sprinkled calf expertly rebacked to style with gilt spine. Octavo. xv, [i], 421, [11, index] pp. Item #17228
Sarah Scott, née Robinson (1720 – 1795) was a novelist, historian, and member of the Bluestocking circle of women intellectuals that also included figures like Hannah More and Elizabeth Carter. Scott is best remembered for A Description of Millennium Hall and the Country Adjacent (1762), a utopian novel that tells of a society of women who elude the confines of marriage and, in the words of Gary Kelly in the ODNB, “form a community devoted to religion, the arts, and philanthropy, redirecting agrarian capitalism to protection of the oppressed, marginalized, and victimized in society, from women like themselves to the poor, the disfigured, and the disabled.” Scott also wrote another utopian novel, The History of Sir George Ellison (1766).
Along with her participation in the Bluestocking circle, Scott is remembered as a public intellectual and an early writer in the utopian genre. Millennium Hall is an important precursor to modern speculative fiction and a crucial early example of feminist utopian worldbuilding that inspired writers like Mary Wollstonecraft.