Poems on Several Occasions.
[ Carter, Elizabeth ]

London: Printed for John Rivington, 1762. First editions of both titles. Early nineteenth century blue speckled calf, decoratively ruled in gilt with burgundy morocco spine label, marbled edges and endpapers. The second work with former owner's signature on title-page, dated 1793, shaved in rebinding. The errata leaf has ink correction in the same hand, and that has been made at the appropriate place in the text. Ink signatures of Mary Ann Carter Duncan, dated 1837, on a preliminary blank, two-page manuscript poem bound in at end, probably in the same hand. A very good, attractive copy. Bound with: Carter, Anna Maria. Selections from the Letters, &c. of the Late Miss Carter of Wittenham Berks. By William P{almer, A.B. Baillol College Oxford. To which are added, some compositions in consequence of her death. Eeter: Printd by R. Trewman an Small octavo. vi, [2, errata with blan (Item ID: 15653)

$2,000.00

Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806) was, to quote Priscilla Dorr in Schleuter’s Encyclopedia of British Women Writers, “the most learned lady in England during the eighteenth century.” She was one of the most famous members of the Blue Stocking Circle, which also included Catherine Talbot, Elizabeth Vesey, Elizabeth Montagu, Hester Chapone, and Hannah More. Despite an early learning disability and “with a persistence that won the praise of V. Woolf in A Room of One’s Own,” (as Margaret Drabble reminds us in the Oxford Companion to English Literature) she learned Latin, Greek, and Hebrew in childhood with her brothers, and later studied French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Arabic. She was a friend of Samuel Johnson, who thought her one of the best Greek scholars he had known, and invited her to contribute to The Rambler. She made a number of translations, of which her Epictetus is the masterpiece. This is her only important collection of verse and the last work of substance that she published. Foxon, p. 109.

Anna Marie Carter, who died in 1791 at the age of twenty-four, is apparently unrelated to Elizabeth Carter. The compiler of her letters is a young clergymn who had been in love with her. He has added at the end some verses which he describes as "the offspring of my moments of agony." This memorial volume is rare: ESTC notes three copies only—at the British Library, Yale, and Princeton.

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