A Simple Story

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Broadview Press, May 24, 2007 - Fiction - 442 pages

After its publication in early 1791, A Simple Story was widely read in England and abroad, going into a second edition in March of the same year. The novel’s young heroine, Miss Milner, scandalously declares herself in love with her guardian, Dorriforth, a Catholic priest. Dorriforth returns her love and is released from his vows. Though the pair go on to marry, the second half of the novel reveals the disastrous and far-reaching consequences of Miss Milner’s subsequent adulterous affair.

The critical introduction to this Broadview edition considers such issues as Catholicism, theatricality, the theatre, and the masquerade, while the appendices provide a wide selection of cultural, biographical, and literary contexts for the novel.

From inside the book


Acknowledgements II
A Brief Chronology
Inchbalds Other Writings
EighteenthCentury Reception of A Simple

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Page 18 - But when an adventurer is levelled with the rest of the world, and acts in such scenes of the universal drama, as may be the lot of any other man ; young spectators fix their eyes upon him with closer attention, and hope, by observing his behaviour and success, to regulate their own practices, when they shall be engaged in the like part.
Page 392 - My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand alone.
Page 386 - I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason...
Page 391 - I attribute to a false system of education, gathered from the books written on this subject by men who, considering females rather as women than human creatures, have been more anxious to make them alluring mistresses than affectionate wives and rational mothers...
Page 392 - Dismissing then those pretty feminine phrases, which the men condescendingly use to soften our slavish dependence, and despising that weak elegancy of mind, exquisite sensibility, and sweet docility of manners, supposed to be the sexual characteristics of the weaker vessel, I wish to shew that elegance is inferior to virtue, that the first object of laudable ambition is to obtain a character as a human being, regardless of the distinction of sex; and that secondary views should be brought to this...
Page 186 - But you know, my dear, he has desired you not ; and you used always to obey his commands." " As my guardian, I certainly did obey him ; and I could obey him as a husband ; but as a lover I will not." " Yet that is the way never to have him for a husband." "As he pleases; for if he will not submit to be my lover, I will not submit to be his wife ; nor has he the affection that I require in a husband.
Page 226 - Sandford, his hairs grown white, his face wrinkled with age, his heart the same as ever — the reprover, the enemy of the vain, the idle, and the wicked, but the friend and comforter of the forlorn and miserable. Upon those features where sarcasm, reproach, and anger dwelt to threaten and alarm the sinner, mildness, tenderness, and pity beamed, to support and console the penitent. Compassion changed his language, and softened all those harsh tones that used to denounce perdition.
Page 392 - A degree of physical superiority cannot, therefore, be denied- and it is a noble prerogative! But not content with this natural pre-eminence, men endeavour to sink us still lower, merely to render us alluring objects for a moment; and women, intoxicated by the adoration which men, under the influence of their senses, pay them, do not seek to obtain a durable interest in their hearts, or to become the friends of the fellow creatures who find amusement in their society.
Page 392 - ... strength of body and mind are sacrificed to libertine notions of beauty, to the desire of establishing themselves, the only way women can rise in the world—by marriage.
Page 428 - Trials for Adultery: Or, The History of Divorces. Being Select Trials At Doctors Commons, For Adultery, Fornication, Cruelty, Impotence, &C.

About the author (2007)

Anna Lott is Professor of English and Coordinator of Women’s Studies at the University of North Alabama.

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