Christina Morin »

Christina Morin lectures in English literature at the University of Limerick, where she is also course director of the MA in Global Irish Studies. She is the author of The Gothic Novel in Ireland, c. 1760–1829 (MUP, 2018), which won the prestigious Robert Rhodes prize in 2019, and Charles Robert Maturin and the Haunting of Irish Romantic Fiction (MUP, 2011). She has also edited, with Marguérite Corporaal, Traveling Irishness in the Long Nineteenth Century (2017) and, with Niall Gillespie, Irish Gothics: Genres, Forms, Modes and Traditions (2014), both published by Palgrave Macmillan. Current projects include a monograph on Irish writers and the Minerva Press and a 200th anniversary celebration of the publication of Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) in collaboration with Marsh’s Library, Dublin.

Elizabeth Neiman »

Elizabeth Neiman is an Associate Professor of English and also Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Maine. Her monograph, Minerva’s Gothics: The Politics and Poetics of Romantic Exchange, 1780–1820 (UWP, 2019) shows that popular literary conventions connect now canonical male poets to their lesser-known female colleagues, drawing them into a dynamic if unequal set of exchanges that influences all of their work. A second book project explores what Minerva and other popular women’s novels reveal when read for glimpses of the personal. Deathbed scenes are a convention in women’s Romantic-era novels, but does this make the heroine’s expression of grief impersonal, generic—her lamentations the language of cliché? Neiman is also currently writing a memoir that explores grief, love and loss, though from the distance of sister.

Copyright Information

This article is © 2020 The Author and is the result of the independent labour of the scholar credited with authorship. Unless otherwise noted, the material contained in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND) International License.
Date of acceptance: 7 January 2019.

Referring to this Article

E. A. NEIMAN and C. MORIN. ‘Re-evaluating the Minerva Press: Introduction’, Romantic Textualities: Literature and Print Culture, 1780–1840, 23 (Summer 2020)

Online: Internet (date accessed):
PDF DOI:10.18573/romtext.68

Re-evaluating the Minerva Press



Abstract Abstract

Abstract: This collection of nine essays, several by well-seasoned scholars of Minerva or its novels, exemplifies how crucial collaboration is and will be for continued understanding of the popular novel in the Romantic literary marketplace. The essays in ‘The Minerva Press and the Literary Marketplace’ converse with each other in multiple and overlapping ways, and have been divided into three sections that illuminate exciting new inroads to scholarship on the Minerva Press. ‘Minerva Genres’ illustrates the generic diversity of Lane’s publications; this is followed by ‘Minerva Readers and Writers’, which nuances the customary profiling of Lane’s authors and his target audience; while ‘Reading Minerva with New Methods’ reassesses Minerva’s reading communities, both contemporary and more modern-day.


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The April 1845 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book, an eminent women’s magazine published in Philadelphia between 1830 and 1878, contains a short story by ‘Miss Mary Davenant’ called ‘Helen Berkley; or, the Mercenary Marriage’. In it, the heroine’s potential lover is assessed by comparison to the hero of Regina Maria Roche’s 1796 Minerva Press novel, The Children of the Abbey: ‘But you know well enough that you never had such an admirer as he is; so handsome, so genteel—just like Lord Mortimer in the “Children of the Abbey” ’. [1] The reference is an intriguing one, suggesting not just the long-lasting and geographically far-reaching appeal of Roche’s most celebrated novel but also the similar persistence of the London-based Minerva Press itself. With modest origins in the publications of liveryman-turned-printer-and-bookseller William Lane (1738 or 1745/46–1814) in the 1770s and ’80s, [2] the Minerva Press was officially founded in 1790 and quickly established itself as Britain’s leading publisher of popular fiction. It enjoyed particular success amongst readers—and, correspondingly, attracted the special ire of critics—in the last decade of the eighteenth century and the first few years of the nineteenth, by which point it was principally categorised and contemptuously dismissed as the purveyor of cheap, unoriginal and thoroughly forgettable circulating-library fictions. By 1845 and the publication of ‘Helen Berkley’, the Minerva Press had apparently been consigned to the annals of history (and bad literature): Lane himself had retired in 1809, handing the business on to his former apprentice Anthony King Newman (d. 1858), who began publishing with Lane in 1801. Under Newman’s guidance, the press began to focus more heavily on children’s literature and remainder publication and, in 1829, omitted ‘Minerva’ from its name altogether, possibly in recognition of its new specialisations and its inability to compete with now more prominent and respectable publishers of popular fiction. [3]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentAnalysis of the cultural afterlives of Minerva Press novels via circulation evidence, reprint and translation history, and continued literary references such as that which appears in ‘Helen Berkley’ indicates the tenaciousness of Lane’s press and its productions. Long after it had ceased trading, ‘Helen Berkley’ tells us, the Minerva Press continued to exert a key influence through fictions and authors that remained household names across the world. Recent research has begun to recover Minerva’s legacy, working against the tendency of twentieth- and even twenty-first-century literary criticism to echo Romantic-era assessments of Lane and his publications, and thereby dismiss Minerva novels more or less wholesale as formulaic and ephemeral fictions undeserving of serious scholarly attention. [4] It is worth remembering, however, that those scholars who tracked the market’s influence on canonical Romanticism wrote Minerva back into literary history, even as they delegated the novels themselves to its margins. [5] In putting together this special issue, we have reflected on our own recent contributions to Minerva scholarship, as well as on our confidence in the initial planning stages that we would solicit more than enough quality material for an exciting collection. In hindsight, it has become clear that our respective efforts to pose new questions of Minerva novels, as well as to think creatively about how best to analyse them, were neither singular nor unique. Rather, they demonstrate the fact that in the last decade or so, there has been ‘something in the air’, as it were, in British Romantic-era scholarship that has sparked interest in Minerva’s derided-because-derivative novels, including perhaps most notably reassessments of what these imitative novels enabled Romantic-era writers to say and to whom, as we address more fully in the next section.

Recovery Begun: The Minerva Press in Scholarship Today

Fuelled—in part—by an increasing drive to de-canonise and de-colonise Romantic literature, scholarly attention to the Minerva Press has intensified in the last ten years. Researchers have begun to interrogate contemporary critical responses to Minerva and reclaim not just prolific, best-selling authors such as Regina Maria Roche (1763/64–1845), Eliza Parsons (1739–1811), Helen Craik (1751–1825), Elizabeth Meeke (1761–1826?) and Catharine Selden (fl. 1797), or Minerva’s most popular works, such as The Children of the Abbey, but also scores of publications by lesser-known or anonymous authors that have since been consigned to ‘the slaughterhouse of literature’. [6] This new and enlivening work addresses the numerous and overlapping reasons for the usual scholarly disregard of Minerva writers. By interrogating why the critical commonplace that most Minerva novels are not generally worth reappraising has proven so persistent, such criticism probes the normative view of the gendered nature of Minerva authors and readers. It also explores Minerva genres, considering the press’s publication of works other than novels and, more particularly, the fiction for which it was most infamous: gothic romances. In related resistance to the typecasting of Minerva authors, genres and readers, this work investigates the hitherto unrecognised and unappreciated cultural and national diversity of Lane’s contributors. Moreover, attention to Lane’s pioneering business model and cultivation of a mass, global readership gestures toward the worldwide readership that Minerva authors enjoyed, not just in their own lifetimes, but for many decades after, as the case of ‘Helen Berkley’ so evocatively suggests.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIt is worth pausing briefly on each of these areas of renewed scholarly attention so as to sketch the important work currently being done and to conjecture what remains to be explored, in part through the research presented in this special issue. The understanding of the Minerva Press as a principally female publishing house, producing novels by women for an unthinking and undiscriminating circulating-library readership, is one first propounded by the Romantic-era periodical press. Lane himself became complicit in the view of his productions as by and for women in his 1798 Prospectus, which included an all-female list of ten ‘favourite’ Minerva authors. [7] However, as Deborah Anne McLeod persuasively asserts, Lane was catering to a diverse audience comprised of men and women from many different walks of life. Equally, his apparent dedication to the female author signalled by his 1798 Prospectus and repeated in contemporary reviews is an incomplete reflection of his lists, a view constructed via the establishment of a false equivalency between female authorship and female readership. [8] Romantic-era commentators also constructed a similar false equivalency between Minerva novels and the gothic, as exemplified by Wordsworth’s famous contrast between ‘genuine’ poetry and the day’s ‘frantic’ novels, [9] and Minerva’s reputation for gothics helps to explain how and why the press was until recently so easily dismissed as a factory for imitative, sensationalised novels. It is, of course, worth noting that Romantic-era commentators were not entirely incorrect. Minerva did open doors for female writers, particularly during its zenith in the late 1790s and early 1800s, when it debuted more female authors than all other presses combined. [10] Furthermore, many of these authors either marketed their work as ‘gothic’ or deployed recognisable gothic conventions, though as Hannah Doherty Hudson, Yael Shapira, Victoria Ravenwood and JoEllen DeLucia all vividly illustrate in this issue, often in ways that, to quote Hudson, ‘[reveal] genre itself as porous and protean rather than fixed, and constantly evolving in relation to past works and reader expectations’.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentAttending to the particularities of gender and genre encourages recognition of other specifics as well. Rather than grouping all Minerva writers together as an indistinguishable subgroup of the London literary marketplace, researchers have begun paying greater attention to the individual histories and national affinities of Minerva authors. Work by Jennie Batchelor, Edward Copeland and Cheryl Turner has delineated the oftentimes tragic personal circumstances in which Minerva authors worked and which imprint themselves on the pages of their novels, thus helping to restore these authors’ discrete identities and contexts. [11] Christina Morin’s work on Roche, Selden, Henrietta Rouvière Mosse (d. 1835) and other Irish Minerva authors provides compelling evidence of the press’s importance to the development of Irish Romantic fiction. [12] Similar work on the Scottish author Isabella Kelly (bap. 1759, d. 1857) by Tenille Nowak and Yael Shapira resists Kelly’s dismissal as just another Radcliffean imitator, recovering her importance to Minerva’s popular reputation—Kelly was included in the 1798 Prospectus as a favourite Minerva author—as well as the affecting conditions that underwrote much of her literary career. [13] Other scholars have explored the significance of Minerva’s mass readership and circulation. For example, Eve Tavor Bannet has found that American publishers reprinted more Minerva novels than those by any other single British or European publisher in the early nineteenth century. Bannet weighs Minerva’s impact on American writers, most notably Charles Brockden Brown (1771–1810), showing that when Brown exports gothic conventions popularised by Minerva, ‘these generic similarities [make] national differences in habits, manners, daily incidents, and sentiments all the more evident’. [14]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentParticularities of place and context notwithstanding, most Minerva novels are formulaic and derivative. However, to see the creative and innovative potential of what has traditionally been taken as mere imitation, the fictions must be read and reappraised for—and not despite—their most formulaic conventions, as the writers in this issue all attest in various ways. These essays follow, in many ways, Elizabeth Neiman’s recent suggestion that ‘reading Minerva novels as exchangeable (but not interchangeable) nodes in a network illustrates that many period novelists do not see any necessary contradiction between imagination and freedom or imitation and constraint’. This understanding, in turn, ‘help[s] us see formulaic or “reproductive” novels differently and thereby expand[s] what we see and what we can say about authorship, then and now’. [15]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIn her seminal 1939 history of the Press, Dorothy Blakey accepts Thomas Love Peacock’s verdict that Minerva novels were ‘ “completely expurgated of all the higher qualities of mind” ’. However, in adding that nineteenth-century writers like Peacock made Minerva novels ‘a symbol for popular fiction’, Blakey provides what half a century later was to be a tantalising inroad to new scholarship on the Press. [16] As E. J. Clery, Deirdre Lynch and Michael Gamer all demonstrate in various ways, those critics who portrayed Minerva as a factory for imitative, exchangeable novels helped write the discursive formation of ‘high’ Romanticism and thus, in turn, persistent and often gendered binaries such as genius/hack, high/low, independent/servile and market-driven/self-originating. [17] As we have already noted, derisive accounts of Minerva novels from the late eighteenth century onwards influence how the works are read and often determine whether they are read at all. In initiating this collection on Minerva and the marketplace, we hope not only to inspire continued research and scholarship on Minerva but also to put pressure on the way that Romantic definitions of authorship persist in scholarship, with the individually authored monograph valued over collaborative research or co-authored work, such as this Introduction. If humanities scholars have less reason to fear ‘being scooped’ than our colleagues in the sciences, institutional and professional pressures often ensure that we are not as open with each other as we might otherwise be about our own research and ensuing arguments. There are hundreds of Minerva novels and multiple methods to analyse them—qualitative and quantitative, bibliographic and biographical. That Minerva novels are now being reassessed in notably ‘unRomantic’ terms provides a special opportunity to reflect on the community and collaboration that engender new perspectives on literary history, and even new frameworks for analysis.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentAs we discuss in the next section, this collection of nine essays, several by well-seasoned scholars of Minerva or its novels, exemplifies how crucial collaboration is and will be for continued discovery. No one individual can say everything about Minerva novels or practices, and complementary projects speak to each other and in ways that help to draw out further nuances in the novels and in the scholarship that until recently has delimited what could be seen and said about formulaic, market-driven novels.

New Directions: The Work of this Special Issue

While the essays in ‘The Minerva Press and the Literary Marketplace’ converse with each other in multiple and overlapping ways, we have divided them into three sections that illuminate exciting new inroads to scholarship on the Minerva Press. Each section revisits a key assumption that has traditionally hampered scholarship on Minerva and its output. Section I, ‘Minerva Genres’, illustrates the generic diversity of Lane’s publications. Joe Lines, for his part, explores Lane’s production of several ramble novels in the years preceding his adoption of the title ‘Minerva’. Contemporary critics generally treated ramble novels as a ‘masculine’ genre modelled after fictions by Fielding and Smollett, and works such as The Adventures of Anthony Varnish (1786) and The Minor; or History of George O’Nial, Esq. (1788 [1787]) suggest that Lane did not initially intend to market his press as ‘feminine’. Indeed, such novels invite not only a reconsideration of Lane’s publishing practices early in Minerva’s history but of the ramble novel itself, which, as Lines demonstrates, remained popular at least a decade longer than previously recognised. Moreover, in addressing works with specifically Irish authors and settings, Lines offers fresh insight into Lane’s encouragement of Irish literature at the close of the eighteenth century. Kurt Milberger also probes presumptions about Lane’s publishing practices, but in his case, by turning attention to the socialite Susannah Gunning (c. 1740–1800), whose five-volume novel Anecdotes of the Delborough Family (1792) was, and indeed still is, a well-known Minerva title. Gunning wrote both Anecdotes and its poetic companion piece, Virginius and Virginia (1792), as a thinly veiled account of the scandal that tore apart her family. Milberger interrogates Gunning’s choice to publish with Minerva in order to offer an exposition of the generic diversity of both Gunning’s career and Lane’s publishing lists. Victoria Ravenwood, in contrast, takes up two stock images of Romantic-era criticism of Minerva: the gothic romance and the naïve female reader. Ravenwood explores how novelists such as Anna Maria Mackenzie (fl. 1782–1809), E. M. Foster (fl. 1795–1817) and Agnes Musgrave (fl. 1795–1808) navigate between critics’ stated concern about female readers’ exposure to gothic violence, on the one hand, and their praise for edifying historical writing, on the other, by coining what she suggests was a new genre: ‘historical gothic fiction’. Such authors manipulated gothic themes and tropes in order to produce a more critic-friendly form of gothic that still indulged in the aesthetic and psychological extremes of its more suspect counterparts, even while, in some cases, using gothic conventions to reveal the true horrors of war to female readers.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentSection II, ‘Minerva Readers and Writers’, nuances the customary profiling of Lane’s authors and his target audience, beginning with a detailed look at how Lane pursued and cultivated the stereotyped ‘ladylike’ reader and author.  Jennie Batchelor explores the crossover between two apparently distinct worlds of Romantic-era publishing—the popular novel and the magazine—focusing attention on the hitherto undertheorised link between the Minerva Press and George Robinson’s Lady’s Magazine; or, Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex (1770–1832). When Lane adopted the Minerva insignia, he borrowed directly from the Lady’s Magazine and poached its writers for his own lists. Even as Batchelor revisits the same stereotypical Minerva features that other essays in this issue resist, including sentimental/gothic novels and female authors, she counters the still-pervasive commonplace that Minerva authors are either ladylike amateurs or else hack writers only out for a profit. Charting the manner in which authors migrated between the Lady’s Magazine and Minerva, Batchelor eloquently sketches an ‘unRomantic’ model of authorship that reveals as much about Lane’s business strategies as it does about who wrote Minerva fictions and why. JoEllen DeLucia, in her turn, addresses the same two issues, in this case, by discussing the high rates of anonymous and pseudonymous publication amongst Minerva authors and the related issue of misattribution. Assessing two anonymous works linked by Lane in advertising to Ann Radcliffe (1764–1823) in an attempt to cash in on her fame and later further misattributed to Mary Ann Radcliffe (c. 1764–c. 1810)—The Fate of Velina de Guidova (1790) and Radzivil. A Romance (1790)—DeLucia interrogates the phenomenon of what she calls ‘corporate Radcliffe’. This term refers to a networked sense of authorship whereby the affinities between authors and texts provide a much richer context in which to understand the impact and evolving reception of Minerva works in a manner that destabilises literary notions of canonicity and individual Romantic genius.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentRadcliffe is generally presumed to have popularised a form that Minerva novelists then servilely copied. [18] By contrast, in reading for a ‘corporate Radcliffe’, DeLucia reveals how Minerva’s wider network of novels recasts Radcliffe and her reputation in a new light. DeLucia’s contentions square with what Michael Gamer has recently taught us about canonical Romantic authors’ continued efforts to repackage their work, [19] but, in this case, to reveal, as DeLucia writes, ‘a form of authorship that embraces the ways novels travel through time, acquiring new attributions and associations with each edition, catalogue listing, review, scholarly essay and encyclopedia entry’. [20] In his focus on the Minerva novels in James Hammond’s circulating library in Newport, Rhode Island, Eric Daffron also illustrates how Minerva novels were repackaged and experienced by later readers. As is often noted, Lane’s commercial concerns included increasing the reach and dissemination of his publications. Daffron’s concentration on a small population of readers in the early American republic paints an evocative picture of the transatlantic availability and durability of Minerva fictions and allows for a local and culturally specific interrogation of Minerva’s reception amongst a specific subgroup of the reading nation. In his attention to two paratexts—the first, Hammond’s catalogues, which market gothic conventions, and the second, readers’ annotations to the novels—Daffron provides suggestive hints about how Hammond promoted novels to his readers and how readers themselves experienced them. That the Minerva novels in Hammond’s collection remained popular at the close of the nineteenth century indicates that readers bought into his marketing efforts, but often, as Daffron shows, while also appropriating these strategies for alternative ends, such as identifying and participating in a larger reading community.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentOur final section, ‘Reading Minerva with New Methods’, reassesses Minerva’s reading communities, both contemporary and more modern-day. First, Megan Peiser analyses critical responses to Minerva, exploring their immediate cultural impact and demonstrating the ways in which late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century criticism persists in Romantic studies. Peiser’s contribution to this issue exemplifies the rich and stimulating possibilities afforded by quantitative analysis in the revaluation of Minerva’s reputation. Basing her research on data gleaned from the impressive open-access digital resource, Novels Reviewed Database, 1790–1820, Peiser tracks the regularity with which Minerva novels were reviewed in the Monthly Review and Critical Review, as well as the space devoted to such reviews. As she does so, she persuasively shows that the very reviews that condemned Minerva publications and contributed to their enduring reputation as paltry imitations helped to consolidate the Press’s contemporary success. Systematic analysis of these reviews, Peiser asserts, encourages not just a new, empirical approach to the Minerva Press but also a reflection on the processes of canonisation by which Minerva novels were—and continue to be—relegated to the margins of literary history.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentNext, Hannah Doherty Hudson rethinks a central concept in such reviews: imitation. Demonstrating the different uses and understandings of imitation in the Romantic period, Hudson assesses Minerva authors’ conscious use of imitation in their novels. Far from a generalised indication of authorial laziness, haste or greed, imitation was frequently wielded by Minerva authors as a ‘practice’ that cannot be fully appreciated without a deep and expansive reading of Minerva novels. In showing that novelists treat imitation ‘as a kind of kinship among authors and a source of humorous familiarity for readers’, Hudson takes seriously what could be written off as inane or bad writing (for example, a novel that repeatedly references, of all things, potatoes), but with a light touch and without diminishing the economic struggles that many Minerva authors faced and that are showcased in their fiction. As such, she provides an eloquent model for how to focus in on individual novels while also illuminating larger patterns, an issue that Yael Shapira makes her explicit topic in her essay on the works of prolific Minerva author, Isabella Kelly, who is now remembered (when recollected at all) as a Radcliffean imitator. In assessing Kelly’s The Ruins of Avondale Priory (1796) in the larger context of her other output, Shapira ably illustrates the importance of recuperating Minerva novels traditionally branded as ersatz Radcliffean gothics in order to gain a rewardingly nuanced view of the vibrant and experimental nature of Minerva fictions and Romantic-era gothic more widely.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentShapira presumes that Minerva novels afford new perspectives on literary history, as do the other essays in this issue. In making the question of how scholars present these new perspectives her primary subject, Shapira raises questions about the kind of texts that our scholarly community is currently willing and able to accept as worth reading. This line of questioning is a fitting conclusion to our special issue of Romantic Textualities, which we hope will advance new scholarship on the Minerva Press and its role in the Romantic literary marketplace without leaving the impression that once Minerva novels are read carefully, there is no more to be said about them. This last point strikes us as central, considering that Minerva’s legacy persists today in binaries like high/low and literary/formulaic. Indeed, in the wake of recent scholarship of which this issue forms a part, it may no longer be possible for scholars to responsibly dismiss all Minerva novels as ‘imitative’. However, the extent to which scholars will still be reading and reassessing them ten or twenty years from now remains to be seen. Whether and how Minerva continues to be written back into literary history will likely be the true test of this special issue, which we hope will indeed spark further research questions, innovative methodological approaches and rewarding new collaborations.


1. Miss Mary Davenant, ‘Helen Berkley; or, the Mercenary Marriage’, Godey’s Lady’s Book, 30 (Apr 1845), 170–78 (p. 175).

2. Lane’s year of birth is unknown: Dorothy Blakey, The Minerva Press, 1790–1820 (London: Bibliographical Society, 1939)

3. Blakey, Minerva Press, p. 39. Also see Peter Garside, ‘The English Novel in the Romantic Era: Consolidation and Dispersal’, in Peter Garside, James Raven and Rainer Schöwerling, The English Novel 1770–1829: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction Published in the British Isles, 2 vols (Oxford: OUP, 2000), II, 15–103 (p. 86).

4. Edward Copeland was one of the first scholars to turn a more discerning eye on Minerva novels, with Women Writing about Money: Women’s Fiction in England, 1790–1820 (Cambridge: CUP, 1995). Other early interventions include works by Edward Jacobs, Deborah Anne McLeod, Jennie Batchelor, Anthony Mandal and Anne H. Stevens. See Jacobs, ‘Anonymous Signatures: Circulating Libraries, Conventionality, and the Production of Gothic Romances’, ELH, 62 (1995), 603–29 <>; McLeod, ‘Minerva Press’; Batchelor, ‘The Claims of Literature: Women Applicants to the Royal Literary Fund, 1790–1810’, Women’s Writing, 12.3 (2005), 505–20 <>, and Women’s Work: Labour, Gender, Authorship, 1750–1830 (Manchester: MUP, 2010); Mandal, Jane Austen and the Popular Novel: The Determined Author (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); and Stevens, British Historical Fiction before Scott (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). None of these works is a dedicated study of Minerva, but, by giving serious attention to overlooked Minerva publications and attending to the circumstances of their production, they accord them with real merit as subjects of academic study.

5. For this argument, see Elizabeth A. Neiman, Minerva’s Gothics: The Politics and Poetics of Romantic Exchange, 1780–1820 (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2019), p. xv; also, ‘A New Perspective on the Minerva Press’s “Derivative” Novels: Authorizing Borrowed Material’, ERR, 26.5 (2015), 633–59 (p. 633) <>.

6. Franco Moretti, ‘The Slaughterhouse of Literature’, MLQ, 61.1 (2000), 207–27 (p. 207) <>.

7. McLeod, ‘Minerva Press’, p. 41. The Minerva 1798 Prospectus is reprinted in Blakey, Minerva Press, Appendix IV. The list was notably followed, as Hannah Doherty Hudson has observed, by two anonymous titles, both by the only male author on the list, Robert Bage—see ‘Robert Bage’s Novel Merchandise: Commercialism, Gender, and Form in Late Eighteenth-Century Fiction’, The Eighteenth-Century Novel, 9 (2012), 184–90 (p. 191).

8. McLeod, ‘Minerva Press’, p. 41. On the gendered makeup of circulating library membership, see especially pp. 24–42. For a revealing discussion of the gender breakdown of Minerva authors, see Neiman, Minerva’s Gothics, pp. 3–26.

9. William Wordsworth, ‘Preface’ to Lyrical Ballads (1802), in William Wordsworth: The Major Works, ed. by Stephen Gill (Oxford: OUP, 2008), p. 599. For critics’ conflation of Minerva with the gothic, see Michael Gamer, Romanticism and the Gothic: Genre, Reception, and Canon Formation (Cambridge: CUP, 2000), pp. 24 and 67.

10. Neiman, Minerva’s Gothics, p. 10.

11. See Batchelor, Women’s Work; Copeland, Women Writing about Money; and Cheryl Turner, Living by the Pen Women Writers in the Eighteenth Century (1992; London and New York: Routledge, 1994).

12. See Christina Morin, ‘ “At a Distance from [my] Country”: Henrietta Rouvière Mosse, the Minerva Press, and the Negotiation of Irishness in the Romantic Literary Marketplace’, ERR, 28.4 (2017), 447–60 <>; Christina Morin, The Gothic Novel in Ireland, c. 1760–1829 (Manchester: MUP, 2018), especially Chapter 4; and Christina Morin, ‘Irish Gothic Goes Abroad: Cultural Migration, Materiality, and the Minerva Press’, in Traveling Irishness in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. by Marguérite Corporaal and Christina Morin (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), pp. 185–204.

13. See Tenille Nowak, ‘Isabella Kelly’s Twist on the Standard Radcliffean Novel’, Studies in Gothic Fiction, 2.2 (2012), 4–13 <> [accessed 12 Dec 2019]; Yael Shapira, ‘Beyond the Radcliffe Formula: Isabella Kelly and the Gothic Troubles of the Married Heroine’, Women’s Writing (2015) <>; and Yael Shapira, Inventing the Gothic Corpse: The Thrill of Human Remains in the Eighteenth-Century Novel (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), pp. 158–67.

14. Eve Tavor Bannet, ‘Charles Brockden Brown and England: Of Genres, the Minerva Press, and the Early Republican Print Trade’, in Transatlantic Literary Exchanges, 1790–1870: Gender, Race, and Nation, ed. by Kevin Hutchings and Julia M. Wright (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 133–52 (p. 152).

15. Neiman, Minerva’s Gothics, p. xviii.

16. Blakey, Minerva Press, p. 2.

17. E. J. Clery, The Rise of Supernatural Fiction, 1762–1800 (Cambridge: CUP, 1995), p. 137; Gamer, Romanticism and the Gothic, p. 67; and Deirdre Lynch, The Economy of Character: Novels, Market Culture, and the Business of Inner Meaning (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), pp. 131–32.

18. See e.g. Carol Margaret Davison, History of the Gothic: Gothic Literature 1764–1824 (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2009), pp. 105–08.

19. Michael Gamer, Romanticism, Self-Canonization, and the Business of Poetry (Cambridge: CUP, 2017).

20. DeLucia’s examples afford a glimpse of how Minerva authors might have interacted with translations. For discussion of translations as part of the novel market, see James Raven, ‘Historical Introduction: The Novel Comes of Age’, in Garside, Raven and Schöwerling, English Novel, I, 15–121 (pp. 56–65). Raven also addresses the tendency of British novelists to feign translations from the German in light of market pressure for gothics, and names several Minerva titles as evidence (p. 62).