Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady...
[ Chapone, Hester.]

London: Printed by H. Hughs; for J. Walter, 1773. The uncommon first edition of the author's most famous and important work; it was reprinted countless times in the next fifty years. The first edition was apparently issued in a fairly small edition; the second, published the same year, is far more common Binding extremities rubbed, with front joint of Volume I cracking, but sound. Contemporary ink signature ("Mary Lush") in Volume II, back free endpaper of Volume II lacking, occasional light browning, offsetting to endpapers. A good, attractive copy. Contemporary sprinkled calf. Gilt-decorated spines with brown morocco labels. Two volumes, small octav viii, 200; [2], 230 pp. (Item ID: 16480)


Hester Chapone (1727-1760) was one of the Bluestockings. She was associated especially with Elizabeth Carter, and Elizabeth Montagu, to whom this work is dedicated, but was also a friend of Samuel Richardson, Frances Burney d’Arblay, and Gilbert White. She came to the attention of Samuel Johnson, who admitted four of her pieces to The Rambler. The publication of Letters on the Improvement of the Mind , a treatise on female education addressed her niece, brought her fame, if not fortune; she was paid £50 for it. She was paid five times that for Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, which included her early verses, moral essays, and “The Story of Fidelia,” first published in The Adventurer (See the Linda V. Troost article in An Encyclopedia of British Women Writers).

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