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ANONYMOUS (but PHEBE GIBBES) - The History of Miss Sommervile

ANONYMOUS (but PHEBE GIBBES) - The History of Miss Sommervile

Anonymous (but PHEBE GIBBES). The History of Miss Sommervile. 1st edition. Printed for D. Chamberlaine, W. Sleator, J. Potts, J. Williams, and C. Ingram. Dublin: 1769.


Though experiencing somewhat of a critical comeback, Phebe Gibbes remains a relatively obscure author about whom little is known, despite having published a good deal in her lifetime. Her works were published anonymously, and she explained this in a letter of appeal for financial support to the Royal Literary Fund - her family “rejected every species of Literature, except devotional” and she herself was of a “withdrawing turn of temper.” She claimed to be the author of several anonymous pieces; in her letter, she also enclosed an attestation by Joseph Johnson, one of her publishers, that she was the author of Elfrida, or Paternal Ambition, which had been published anonymously. Despite her withdrawing nature, Gibbes' writings were full of pronounced views on freedom of marriage choice, lack of educational opportunities for girls, women's role in society, and the evils of gambling. Indeed, the financial difficulty that led her to write to the Royal Literary Fund was due in part to her father-in-law's love of gambling as well as the early death of her husband, leaving her with three living children. The History of Miss Sommervile was one of her earliest published novels. Rare find; ESTC lists copies at the University of Pennsylvania and Trinity College only.


Two volumes still tightly bound into one in contemporary calf. Publisher’s advertisements present at rear. Spine and board edges moderately rubbed. Owner’s inscription on title page of first volume.

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