A Book “Seen by Every Butcher & Baker, Cobler & Tinker”: Early English Evelina Rediscovered
Svetlana Kochkina, McGill University
Svetlana Kochkina defended her Ph.D. thesis on Evelina’s publication history and the evolution of its paratext at McGill University in 2020 and is currently working on a book based on her doctoral project. She researches and publishes on historical social networks, the evolution of the form and paratextual elements of the book, and the history of book collecting and private libraries. She is presently studying Burney’s social networks during her years of service as the Keeper of the Robes at the Court of Queen Charlotte (1786–1791) and tracing them with digital humanities tools. Kochkina is an active member of the Bibliographical Society of Canada and was elected its first Vice-President in 2021.
At the height of its popularity, Burney’s Evelina was frequently republished in English both in Britain by the copyright holder Lowndes and outside of its borders and the sphere of influence of British copyright law, notably in Ireland. This essay reveals that the only bibliography of Burney’s works by Joseph Grau (1981) did not correctly document the true extent of the novel’s production by these two most important sources supplying the book to Anglophone readers. It uncovers the number and variety of Evelina’s editions and reprints produced by the publishing house of Thomas and William Lowndes (15) and their Irish counterparts (7) for different segments of the English-speaking book market in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Evelina’s corrected early publication history demonstrates a fuller and more complex picture of its reach to and popularity among the reading public in Britain and abroad, underestimated until now.
Burney, Frances, 1752–1840; Evelina; eighteenth-century novel; early English editions; Lowndes; Irish reprint trade; illustrations; paratext
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