Well, I must admit that April was something of a bumper month for acquisitions. Those paying close attention will no doubt recall that I was going to curb my book buying habits. In my defence, however, I have either sold or given away a large chunk of the Papal library, and thus have both the space and money to indulge in a few replacements. I’m obviously not going to calculate whether income exceeded, or even matched, expenditure. Ahem.
Anyway, my main investment has been in a number of Florence Marryat reprints. Although the covers are bad enough to set one’s teeth on edge, the Elibron editions are very good facsimiles of the originals, and much easier to obtain. Thank you to Gina O’Brien Hill for pointing me in their direction. I’m now the proud owner of Veronique, Mad Dumaresq, Fighting the Air, Nelly Brooke, For Ever and Ever, Under the Lillies and Roses, and A Rational Marriage. My Marryat collection now stands at twenty volumes, so I have *only* another 55 or so to find.
Another Marryat-related purchase is George Grossmith: Biography of a Savoyard. They performed together in an act called Entre Nous during the 1870s and remained friends thereafter. Grossmith also parodied her in the incomparable The Diary of a Nobody. I’ve just finished reading this book, so a review will be forthcoming over the weekend.
One of the arguments of my nascent thesis is that Marryat’s sensation fiction prefigured the work of the New Woman novelists. I have consequently splashed out on Sarah Grand’s The Heavenly Twins, which is an absolute behemoth of a novel. I don’t think I’ll be reading that on the bus. I’m also very interested in the anti-New Woman novelist, and am fascinated by Eliza Lynn Linton. I recently read The Rebel of the Family (review to follow), and that has prompted me to buy Nancy Fix Anderson’s Woman Against Women in Victorian England: A Life of Eliza Lynn Linton.
Through sheer indulgence, I have treated myself to Valancourt Books’ new editions of Under Two Flags by Ouida and Paul Ferroll by Caroline Clive. The latter, a bigamy novel, would have been perfect for my dissertation and was actually published a day after I submitted it. Bah. I tried to read the original in the British Library, but the reading rooms were overrun with undergraduates on the three days I tried to access it. My next visit to our national library will probably provoke a blog rant, as it seems to have turned into a social space for 21 year olds, rather than a vital and unique resource for serious researchers. Yes, I’m sounding like an old bat. You need only look at my graduation photo to see that my transformation is complete.