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Corvey 'Adopt an Author'

Mrs. Martin

The Corvey Project at
Sheffield Hallam University




Primary texts

Martin, Mrs, 1798, Melbourne, The Minerva Press

Martin, Mrs, 1801, The Enchantress or Where Shall I Find Her, The Minerva Press


Secondary texts

Altick, Richard D, 1957, The English Common Reader: A Social History of the Mass Reading Public 1800-1900, Chicago University Press

This text provided good background information about the reading public in the period in which my author wrote her novels.

Baldick, Chris 1990, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms, Oxford University Press

This dictionary was useful for exact definitions of the picaresque, the novel and the tale.

Blakey, Dorothy, 1939 The Minerva Press, 1790-1820, Oxford University Press

This text gave useful background information about The Minerva Press and circulating libraries. It also gives information about William Lane and Minerva favourites, which was of interest. The appendices section listed my author’s publications, prices paid for them and the date they were attributed to my author.

Colby, Vineta, 1974 Yesterday’s Woman: Domestic Realsim in the English Novel, Princeton University Press

Copeland, Edward, 1995, Women Writing About Money: Women’s Fiction in England 1790-1820, Chicago University Press

This text was fairly useful in providing information about the significance of money, during the period in which Mrs Martin wrote. It also provided some useful information about Mary Meeke.

Fielding, Henry, 1996, Tom Jones(1749), Ed. John Bender and Simon Stern, Oxford University Press

Kelly, Gary, 1989, English Fiction of the Romantic Period 1789-1830, Longman, London and New York

I found this book useful, especially the information defining and discussing 'tales' and circulating library patrons.

Poovey, Mary, 1984, The Proper Lady and The Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley and Jane Austen, Chicago University Press.

Poovey’s definition and analysis of the ‘Proper Lady’ was of significant use in my research. She discusses ideologies of female propriety and the female writer.

Todd, Janet, A Dictionary of British and American Women Writers 1660-1800, Methuen & Co, London

The introduction of this biographical dictionary was useful in giving a brief summary of various relevant aspects such as class, marriage and themes within fiction of this period.

Tompkins, T.M.S, 1969, The Popular Novel in England 1770-1800, Methuen & Co Ltd, London

This was one of the most useful texts I used in my research of the period in which my author was writing. It provided comprehensive information about the novel market and the female novelist.

Vickery, Amanda, 1998, The Gentleman’s Daughter: Woman’s lives in Georgian England, Yale University Press.

Yeazell, Ruth.Bernard, 1984, Fictions of Modesty: Women and Courtship in the English Novel, Chicago University Press

The preface and part one of this text provided useful background information about women’s behaviour and modesty.


Biographical Dictionaries

Blain, Virginia, Patricia Clements and Isobel Grundy, 1990, The Feminist Companion to Literature in English, Batsford.

This dictionary gives a brief account of Mrs Martin’s work. It lists her novels and the date of publication. It also includes some brief information about each text and a few comments about the conditions under which she wrote them.

The following biographical dictionaries provided no mention of Mrs Martin:

Allibone, Samuel Austin, 1885, A Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors Living and Deceased. From the Earliest Accounts to the Latter Half of the Nineteenth Century, Lippencott, London

Buck, Claire, 1992, Bloomsbury Guide to Women’s Literature, London, Bloomsbury.

Crawford, Anne et al. 1983, The Europa Biographical Dictionary of British Women: Over 1000 Notable Women from Britain's Past, Gale Research.

The Dictionary Of National Biography, 1922, Oxford University Press.

Kunitz, Stanly J and Howard Haycraft 1952, British Authors of the Nineteenth Century, Wilson.

Shattock, Joanne, 1993, Oxford Guide to British Women Writers, Oxford University Press.

Todd, Janet, A Dictionary of British and American Women Writers 1660-1800



Alston, R.C 1990, A checklist of Women Writers, 1801-1900: Fiction, Verse, Drama, London, British Library.

This text contained no information on Mrs Martin.

Block Andrew. 1961, The English Novel, 1740-1850: A Catalogue Including Prose Romances, Short Stories and Translations of Foreign Fiction, London, Dawson.

This text listed Mrs Martin’s publications but gave no further details.

The British Library General Catalogue of Printed Books to 1975, p451

This catalogue did refer to Mrs Martin, as ‘the author of Melbourne’. It also suggested that she may have edited Family Sermons by Samuel Martin.

Ward, William.S, 1972, Literary Reviews in British Periodicals 1798-1820: A Bibliography, Garland Publishing, London and New York.

This bibliography listed several reviews for books by my author, under the anonymous section. I was able to find most of these at Brotherton Library in Leeds, except for a review on The Enchantress, in the Monthly Mirror.

Wolff, Robert Lee, 1981, Nineteenth-Century Fiction: A Bibliographical Catalogue Based on the Collection Formed by Robert Lee Wolff, Garland Publishing, London and New York.

This catalogue contained no information on my author.

Other Institutions and Resources

British Museum 0171 6361555

This institution could not give me any information over the phone but referred me to their website. Unfortunately, the website was under construction, therefore I was unable to access it. It may be worth further investigation once construction has been completed, although it is unlikely that they will hold any information on Mrs Martin, due to her obscurity.

British Library 0207 412 7000/7676

Unfortunately, the British library held no information on Mrs Martin. However, as her first name is unknown and the surname Martin is fairly common, it was difficult for the library assistants to search for Mrs Martin. However, they did refer me to their catalogue of printed books (see bibliography section).

National Gallery, Picture Library Archive section: 0171 3060055

Assistants in the archive section were unable to trace any pictures of Mrs Martin.

Public Records Office 0181 876 3444


This institution referred me their website, however unfortunately I was unable to find any information about Mrs Martin.

Royal Literary Archive Fund

Unfortunately, there was no record of my author here.



The Society of Authors 0171 373 6642

As I did not have the first name of my author, this society was unable to assist me.

The Writers Guild 0171 723 8074

Although they were very helpful here, there were unable to give any useful information.



The following periodicals were found at Brotherton Library in Leeds. This was a valuable and interesting part of my research as I not only gathered reviews on my author’s novels, but also about contemporary attitudes and opinions on novel writing and reading. It also gave me an overview about the types of periodicals which were available to the reading public, and also about how other female novelists were received.

The British Critic, April 1801, 435-6

This periodical included a fairly lengthy review of The Enchantress, by Mrs Martin.

The Critical Review, September 1799, 115

This periodical contained a review on Melbourne by Mrs Martin, speculating on the type of character she may have been.


The Monthly Magazine, supplement, v8, Jan 1800, 1053

This magazine provided a short review on Melbourne.


Other reviews on books by my author:

The Critical Review, v24, November 1798

This provides a review on Deloraine, the first novel Mrs Martin wrote in 1798.

The Critical Review, March 1801

This provides a lengthy description of Jeannette, which Mrs Martin wrote in 1800.

Periodicals also referred to:

The European Magazine, Novenber 1805, v48, 326-7

This magazine contains an interesting essay on ‘The Ill Effects of Novel Reading’, which conveys contemporary attitudes.

Modern Spectator, March 1819, v20, 155

This periodical contains an article: ‘The Blessed Advantages of Novel Reading’. It provides an interesting comparison to the above essay.

Universal Magazine, June 1802, 431-2

This provides an interesting essay on ‘The Critical Rules of Novel-Writing’. I found this useful for a better understanding of what was expected from novel writers of this period.

Internet sites

The following web sites were interesting and useful for general background reading:

A Celebration of Women Writers

The new address for this site is

Cardiff Corvey


Germanistik Innsbruck, University of Innsbruck Corvey Page

Regency Page


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