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The Life of Anne Damer

Anne Damer, Belmour, Northwestern U P, 2011

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, The Sylph, Northwestern U P, 2007



While in office from 1801 to 1809, Thomas Jefferson cut and pasted into homemade scrapbooks hundreds of poems of nation - early odes to the still coalescing republic - family, and romantic love. He gave the books as gifts to his granddaughters and for nearly 200 years it was believed the girls had compiled the collections themselves. No previous biography of Jefferson has drawn on this important resource. In unexpected ways this groundbreaking work will help demystify "the American sphinx." 243 of the poems that captured Jefferson's imagination are published here for the first time, with essays, annotations and photographs that make this historically important and revealing volume a delight to explore.


"A dramatic glimpse into the mind of Jefferson. In these pages, he emerges as both a casual reader and a political partisan. What did he clip from the newspaper? What poetry stirred him? The cerebral president had a sense of humor and a strikingly sentimental side that can be easily gleaned from this fascinating volume."
—Andrew Burstein, author of Jefferson's Secrets

"Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott and Burns are among Jefferson's major companions in a previous unrecorded ten-year conversation that will permanently change Jefferson studies. Deeply sensitive to the tensions between the exteriority of neoclassicism and the interiority of romanticism, Jonathan Gross is a masterful editor."
—Jay Fliegelman, author of Declaring Independence

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Published anonymously in 1773 and attributed to Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, this epistolary novel explores the "unfortunate attachment" of Emma Eggerton to William Walpole. Forbidden by her father to marry the man she loves, Emma resigns herself to marrying Walpole, her father's autocratic choice of a husband. The novel's other unfortunate attachment concerns Colonel Sutton, who falls prey to the "low" machinations of the confirmed flirt Harriet Courtney. Like Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Georgiana's Emma explores the dangers of first impressions and arranged marriages, but does so from the vantage point of a woman who would suffer the long-term consequences of both.

Originally published when the author was only sixteen, and long out of print, Emma anticipates many of the major events of Georgiana's own life, and taken together with her second novel, The Sylph, it offers significant insights into the outlook of aristocratic women in the late eighteenth century. An Introduction by Jonathan David Gross sets the novel in the context of its time and explores the questions surrounding its authorship.


“…impeccably annotated … with an enlightening introduction by Jonathan David Gross. Emma offers a new illuminating view of the famous Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire.” — Margot Strickland

"The contribution of the aristocracy to art has traditionally been regarded as collateral: they were patrons, not performers. Georgiana Spenser, however, was patron and author, not to mention musician and amateur scientist. As the introduction to this … novel … indicates, here was a glorious exception. Every page has an aphorism … The introduction is superb, and the text will seduce even those unimpressed by eighteenth-century prose." — The Independent


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Byron: The Erotic Liberal is the first book to focus on the erotic dimension of Byron's political career, as expressed in both Byron's poetry and his prose. Jonathan David Gross draws on extensive archival research into the life and letters of Lady Melbourne, whose correspondence with Byron shaped his erotic imagination and influenced his engagement with the biblical story of Joseph. Gross places Byron's politics in the context of the writings of other European aristocratic liberals, such as Madame de Staël, to consider anew Byron's relationship to women and his political peers. Yet Gross successfully brings Byron into our modern age, making use of recent work in women's studies and gay studies to explain how Byron's sexuality shaped his political beliefs.




"What famous letters your own are . . . I never saw such traits of discernment, observation of character, knowledge of your own sex, and sly concealment of your knowledge of the foibles of ours," wrote the twenty-four-year-old Lord Byron to Lady Melbourne. More than one hundred previously unpublished letters of Lady Melbourne are included in this scholarly edition which vividly re-creates the late Georgian age. Lady Melbourne’s controversial letters to Lord Byron are published in their entirety for the first time, revealing her significant influence on his masterpiece, Don Juan.

Long before the famous correspondence between Byron and Lady Melbourne began, she had impressed her own contemporaries as a woman of no small signficance. Married off to the son of a wealthy lawyer, she used her superior education, attention to detail, and business acumen to manage her amiable but dissolute husband’s affairs.

A leading female agriculturist, she was the Duchess of Devonshire’s closest confidante, as well as the mistress of the Prince of Wales (1780–84). At her residence in Piccadilly, she entertained a brilliant company that included Charles James Fox, George Canning, and Charles Grey. A half dozen of the nation’s most famous painters executed her portrait in oil, while Sheridan recorded her witty repartee in The School for Scandal. Scholars of the Romantic period will welcome these carefully annotated letters written by one of the age’s most ambitious and captivating personalities.

" . . . will be a major contribution to our understanding of Regency life."—Peter Graham, author of Don Juan and Regency England