Rolf Loeber »

Rolf Loeber (PhD) is Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, and Professor of Juvenile Delinquency & Social Development at the Free University, Amsterdam.  He has published widely on crime, mental health problems, and substance use in juveniles. In addition, he has published forty papers and three books on Irish architecture, history, and literature. He and his wife-Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, also Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh-are currently completing 'A Guide to Irish Fiction 1650 to 1900'.

Magda Stouthamer-Loeber »

Rolf Loeber (PhD) is Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, and Professor of Juvenile Delinquency & Social Development at the Free University, Amsterdam.  He has published widely on crime, mental health problems, and substance use in juveniles. In addition, he has published forty papers and three books on Irish architecture, history, and literature. He and his wife-Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, also Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh-are currently completing 'A Guide to Irish Fiction 1650 to 1900'.

Copyright Information

This article is copyright © 2003 Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, and is the result of the independent labour of the scholar or scholars credited with authorship.  The material contained in this document may be freely distributed, as long as the origin of information used has been properly credited in the appropriate manner (e.g. through bibliographic citation, etc.). An earlier version of this paper was presented at Cardiff University in December 2000. We are greatly indebted to the following for their kind and valuable advice on various aspects of the paper: Jacqueline Belanger, Charles Benson, Peter Garside, Margaret Kelleher, Anthony Mandal, Catherine Morris, Paul Pollard, and Kevin Whelan. The work was greatly facilitated by a grant from the University of Notre Dame toward completion of our guide to Irish fiction.

Referring to this Article

R. LOEBER and M. STOUTHAMER-LOEBER. 'The Publication of Irish Novels and Novelettes, 1750-1829: A Footnote on Irish Gothic Fiction', Cardiff Corvey: Reading the Romantic Text 10 (June 2003).

Online: Internet (date accessed):

The Publication of Irish Novels and Novelettes, 1750–1829

A Footnote on Irish Gothic Fiction


Abstract Tags

The economic and social welfare of a country is often directly related to its literary output. The periodical, the Dublin Magazine, captured this well in its issue of February of 1820, when it stated that:

Acute inquirers into the rise, progress, and decline of empires have asserted, that literary productions are a certain criterion, by which to judge of the improvement and prosperity of a state [.] Previous to the year 1800, printing flourished in Ireland [.] sufficiently to afford us native productions [.] [but since then] printing presses are no longer used in Ireland, except for the use of newspapers, or parish and county documents [.] [In its stead], Minerva Presses, vending every species of pernicious productions, will rise on the ruins of the honourable and independent publishers[.] [1]

Although this outcry may appear sympathetic, it refers to a publishing industry which before 1800 was built on the piracy of books published in England and on the continent, and only had a narrow base of producing original productions by Irish authors. The London-based Minerva Press, although derided here, was the most successful publishing house of fiction in England during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Among all forces that affected the decline of the Irish publishing and printing industry at the beginning of the nineteenth century, two pivotal events stand out: the 1798 rebellion, and the Act of the Union between England and Ireland three years later. The rebellion directly or indirectly involved Dublin printers and publishers, and resulted in the banishment of many individuals working in these professions. One of the consequences of the Union was the extension of English copyright law to Ireland, thereby curtailing Irish printers’ and publishers’ profitable pirating of English books. The impact of these events, although considered in some literary and bibliographical sources, remains understudied largely because of the unavailability of comprehensive, printed lists of publications of the period. The main goal of this essay is to examine the production of original novels during the period 1750 to 1829 in order to compare the impact of the 1798 rebellion and the Union on the publication of original fiction in Ireland. [2] Use will be made of our guide to Irish fiction compiled over the past twelve years to document the development of original Irish novels between 1650 and 1900. [3] This essay challenges prior notions offered by scholars that these events crushed the Dublin publishing industry. Also, this essay focuses on a neglected area in Irish literary studies, [4] the publication of novelettes (a form of short fiction), [5] mostly published during the first decades of the nineteenth century. Another objective of this paper is to examine Irish novelettes of that time as a hitherto unrecognised transitional phase between eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Irish Gothic novels. [6] Novelettes were produced by a handful of the new generation of Dublin publishers, who set out upon a new course in the sale of low-cost fiction, catering to a wider reading public than those who had been able to purchase fiction before the Union. [7]

The study of novelettes is neglected partly because they usually can not to be found in most major libraries, and partly because their soft covers contributed to their low survival rate. [8] Also, novelettes were usually not held in the major circulating libraries in Dublin [9] and were typically not reviewed in the periodical literature. As a consequence, novelettes tended to remain obscure even at their time of publication.

Novelettes differed from chapbooks in size, price, number of pages, originality, and often in contents. Typically, novelettes were larger in size than chapbooks (novelettes measured about 9 x 14cm, compared to approximately 10-10.5 x 16-17cm for chapbooks) and were closer to the size of eighteenth century novels published In Ireland. [10] Novelettes, in contrast to novels however, were much shorter and usually came in one of two types of lengths: thirty-six or seventy-two stitched pages. The shorter version of novelettes usually cost 6d, while the long version cost one shilling. The price of a long novelette was about one fourth the cost of a novel, but twelve times more expensive than the price of an average chapbook. Novelettes typically consisted of short single tales (although sometimes more than one tale was included), and were published independently rather than as part of a bundle of stories or a triple-decker. Many novelettes were potboilers of novels published in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries or were based on plays; [11] in contrast, almost all non-religious chapbooks consisted of reprints of tales and romances often dating back to medieval times. Unlike novels, which were usually illustrated only when reprinted, novelettes at their first printing were illustrated with a frontispiece representing a terrifying or crucial scene from the narrative. [12]

The Publication of Original Novels in Ireland Prior to the Union
The emergence of novelettes can be understood best in the context of the publication of novels. Figure 1 (below) shows the publication of original fiction in Dublin between 1750 and 1829. [13] The 1750s and 1760s combined saw the publication of twenty-eight original Irish novels, but this was followed by a decrease during the 1770s. This decrease probably was caused by economic factors, which also affected the publishing industry in London during the period 1775 to 1783. [14] The number of new novels published in Dublin increased to twenty for the decade of 1780-89, but dropped during the 1790s. In total, sixty-five titles of original Irish fiction were published between 1750 and 1799 (excluding a small number of works published in Cork). The numbers are small compared to all fiction published in London, where 1,846 original novels were published during that period. [15] Following the Union, the number of new novels published during the first decade of the nineteenth century remained low, but increased subsequently. In total, fifty original fiction titles were published in Dublin between 1800 and 1829. This number is a very modest number, especially when compared to Irish fiction appearing in London. Richard Cole correctly concludes that Irish authors already in the eighteenth century ‘took their works to London to be published, a choice to be continued by Irish writers throughout the nineteenth century’. [16] During the second half of the eighteenth century, the publication of original works of fiction was only a small part of the Dublin publishers’ work, which was dominated by the unauthorised republication English and French works. For example, between 1770 and 1799, 459 mostly English novels were reprinted in Dublin, compared to thirty-seven works of original fiction (that is, only 7.5%). [17]

Fig 1. Original Novels and Reprints of Novelettes Published in Dublin, 1750–1829

Literary historians have commented on Dublin publishers’ over-reliance on pirated work without sufficient cultivation, encouragement, and payment for Irish authors to publish in Ireland. [18] The poet William Preston wrote in 1793 that ‘[a] striking proof of the little esteem in which letters are held in this country, is that the legislation has never condescended to bestow a thought or care on them; and that we are, to this hour, without any statute for the protection of literary property in Ireland’. [19] Although accurate, the danger of works by Irish authors published in Ireland being pirated there appears to have been minimal. Mary Pollard, after extensively studying Dublin publishing practices, concludes that the copyright of Irish authors publishing in Ireland was ‘respected as to make the piracy of original Dublin copy a rarity’. [20] Also, one of the hallmarks of piracy, the competing publications of different publishers of the same work in the same year, did not apply to works by resident Irish authors. The issue of copyright infringement probably was much more a problem for Irish authors resident in England, whose work was primarily published in London. Judging from the many, probably unauthorised reprints in Dublin by such authors as Oliver Goldsmith and Frances Sheridan, it is likely that copyright infringements particularly applied to those Irish authors, who were resident in England and published in that country. [21] In contrast, the copyright of the works of mostly resident Irish authors such as Maria Edgeworth, even though almost all published in London, was respected in Dublin. (This does not appear to have been the case, however, for reprints of their works published in France and the US.)

Nowadays, most of the titles of original novels published in Dublin in the second half of the eighteenth century are little known. An example is the anonymous The History of Charlotte Villars, attributed to Isaac Mukins, a graduate of Trinity College, and published in 1756. It consists of a picaresque, historical story set in Ireland, London, and France, during the time of William III. Long before Maria Edgeworth wrote Castle Rackrent (London, 1800), another Irish regional novel appeared anonymously (but ascribed to a Daniel Marlay or Marley): The History of Mr Charles Fitzgerald and Miss Sarah Stapleton (Dublin, 1770), set in Co. Westmeath. Remarkably, almost one in five (18%) of the titles of original novels published in Dublin between 1750 and 1799 are known only from advertisements or reviews and, despite extensive searches, are not known to have survived.

Most of these eighteenth-century Irish novels were published anonymously. In the case where the sex of the author can be identified, about equal numbers were men and women authors, but many more males than females are identified by name. Many of the female authors are identified by the term ‘a lady’. [22] The genre of novels varied much during the second half of the eighteenth century. Initially, many consisted of adventure stories involving military men or criminals-for instance, George Wollaston’s The Life and History of a Pilgrim (Dublin, 1753). Subsequently, novels dealing with love and the social lives of women prevailed-twenty-two novels, such as The Dénouement: Or, History of Lady Louisa Wingrove, by ‘a Lady’ (Dublin, 1781). Several new sub-genres emerged such as historical fiction-for instance, Thomas Leland’s Longsword, Earl of Salisbury. An Historical Romance (Dublin, 1762; London, 1762)-and Gothic novels, discussed below. The publication of novels in Dublin in this period often did not bring financial rewards: about one in five of original Dublin novels was published at the expense of the author rather than the publisher (with the exception of the 1760s, when none were published for the author). Moreover, none of the identified authors appears to have published a second novel in Dublin; instead, for several authors a Dublin publication served as a stepping-stone toward a literary career in London.

A minority of the eighteenth-century works of fiction published in Dublin consisted of collections of brief stories, each about the size of a novelette. As far as is known, however, these stories were not sold separately, but are only known from collected works. A representative example is Love in Several Shapes: Being Eight Polite Novels, in a New and Elegant Taste, written by a ‘Lady’ and published by James Hoey Junior in Dublin in 1760, which consisted of eight short stories. Occasionally, the stories in these collections were explicitly called novelettes, as was the case in the volume edited and partly written by the Irish author, Elizabeth Griffith, entitled Novellettes, Selected for the Use of Young Ladies and Gentlemen; Written by Dr Goldsmith, and Mrs Griffith, &c. and Illustrated by Elegant Illustrations (London, 1780), which contains sixteen stories. [23] None of the eighteenth-century Irish productions included stories based on Irish folk tales, and anthologies containing such stories only began appearing in the 1820s. [24] See, for instance, London: House of Commons (London, 1825).

The Impact of the 1798 Rebellion and the 1801 Union on the Dublin Publishing Industry of Novels
The 1798 rebellion and the Union of 1801 undermined the Dublin publishing industry in two ways: the departure of publishers and new legislation. [25] The Union had an even more dramatic effect on the publishing industry, as-for the first time-English copyright laws applied to Ireland. The perception of disastrous change in the publishing industry was clearly already present in the year of the Union, when an article in the Dublin Walker’s Hibernian Magazine referred to the ‘abolition’ of printing in Ireland. In an overly dramatic mood, it stated that after the Union, ‘[n]o new works will ever be printed in Ireland’. [26]

R. C. Cole, in reviewing all types of books published in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, concludes that the Union ‘gave the coupe de grace to the dying Irish reprint industry and with it the Irish book trade in general. He stressed that ‘the periodicals for the most part ended too [resulting] in an absence of intellectual fermentation. The reprint industry, the periodicals, and intellectual exchange all flourished together’. [27] This statement can be challenged and qualified on several grounds, however: he does not question whether the publishers of novels experienced the same fate; also, Cole does not explore the possibility that as the publishing market changed, room might be created for innovations in publishing, such as the sale of short and cheaper fiction. Moreover, at least twenty-two new literary periodicals were founded in Dublin between 1801 and 1829, albeit many of them were short-lived. [28]

Several studies by Phillips, Pollard, and Raven-although confirming the decay of the publishing trade following the Union-also show that the decay already had started during the 1790s and well before the 1798 rebellion. [29] For example, Pollard identifies the large increase in duty on paper imported from England to Ireland that took place in 1795, and which deprived Irish reprints of their price advantage. Phillips documents that, owing to many financial failures, the number of booksellers in Dublin decreased in the 1790s. Similarly, there was a substantial decrease in the number of printers working in Dublin during that decade. [30] However, bibliographical evidence shows that a large portion of the publishing trade survived in the 1790s. Pollard demonstrates that the recovery in the Dublin book trade was slow and that the total number of booksellers, printers, stationers, and binders known to have operated in 1793 dipped in the late 1790s and early 1800s.

Figure 1 illustrates that the production of original novels in Dublin during the 1790s and 1800s reached a record low, a decrease of 50% compared to the level in the preceding decade. Part of this decrease resulted from transitions in publishing houses. Biographical details of those publishers who were most involved in the publication of original Irish fiction in the period 1750-99 show that some of the publishers of novels died prior to the change of century. For example, Dillon Chamberlaine, who had been ‘remarkable for his publication of first or early editions of well-received novels’, died in 1780. Another such publisher, Stephen Colbert, died in 1786, while seven years later the bookseller and auctioneer Christopher Jackson closed his business. Another publisher and lender of novels was Thomas Jackson, who claimed in 1786 to have the largest circulating library in Dublin. He co-published Owenson’s St Clair in 1803, but is not listed in Dublin after 1807 and may have left Ireland for England. [31]

Several of the Dublin publishers and printers at the end of the eighteenth century were United Irishmen. When the 1798 rebellion failed many of them were apprehended, banished, or fled to the United States. Cole estimates that at least sixty-two Irish bookmen left Ireland at the time of the Union. [32] For example, John Chambers was banished to Scotland and afterwards to Hamburg; subsequently, he left for France, then set off to the United States in 1805, dying in New York in 1837. Patrick Byrne, the publisher of Wolfe Tone and his friends’ short novel, Belmont Castle (Dublin, 1790), was a United Irishman; he was apprehended in 1798, imprisoned and accused of high treason, before gaining his freedom in 1800 and leaving for Philadelphia, where he died in 1814 at the age of seventy-three. [33] In summary, political exile and deaths reduced the number of Dublin publishers of fiction around the time of the Union. This would have not meant a great deal were it not for the fact that these publishers were not replaced soon by a new generation of publishers of fiction.

Another significant factor may have played a role: it is well-known that after the Union part of the reading public wealthy enough to purchase novels left Dublin for London. [34] Against this gloomy picture, however, should be considered the fact that several publishers survived the transitions of the rebellion and the Union. One of them is the United Irishman and Catholic, Richard Cross, who continued to publish chapbooks well into the early decades of the nineteenth century. [35] Another publisher, Bennett Dugdale, who co-published novels with other Dublin publishers during the late eighteenth century, also published religious chapbooks for Protestant organisations. [36] As will be shown, he continued to publish well into the first decades of the nineteenth century.

Factors that impeded publishing in Dublin, however, appear not to have operated in Cork. During the 1790s and 1800s, while the Dublin publishing industry of fiction experienced a substantial decrease, Cork experienced a modest increase in the publication of novels. [37] Thirteen works of original fiction were published in Cork between 1788 and 1810. The most productive publisher during this period was John Connor, who had commercial contacts with the Minerva Press in London. Connor differed from most Dublin publishers in his patronage of several beginning authors (such as Mrs Creech, Edward Holland, and Joseph Hillary); and the present authors have not been able to document any Dublin publisher in the three decades following 1790 who sponsored as many authors as Connor did. Not surprisingly, several of Connor’s authors came from Munster: this can be deduced from known biographical details (Anna Milliken, Regina Maria Roche), addresses (Edward Holland was from Kanturk, Co. Cork), or from subscription lists (Mrs Creech and Sophia Briscoe). All of these authors’ works were full novels, and novelettes do not appear to have been published in Cork or elsewhere in Ireland during this period.

Irish Novelettes Published in Dublin and London
Novelettes came in two broad categories: sensational adventure stories and Gothic fiction. The first category consists of adventure stories in foreign countries, while the second comprises Gothic stories, often derived and summarised from mainstream Gothic novels. In either format, the setting of the stories in novelettes was rarely Ireland, but more often Southern Europe or exotic places and countries. The Gothic novelettes are important in that they represent a little-known development of Gothic themes. Frederick S. Frank characterises them as ‘down the corridor of an unrestrained supernatural and towards the absolute horror of horrors’, more often the mode of M. G. Lewis’s The Monk (1796) rather than in the tradition of Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794). [38]

The period between 1800 and 1815 saw nine novelettes of original Irish fiction published in London and another two in Dublin by Holmes and Charles, and Martin, respectively (Table 1, in Section II). An example is The Castle of Savina; or, the Irishman in Italy. A Tale (London, [c.1807]), which was subsequently serialised in an Irish provincial periodical, the Weekly Selector, or Sligo Miscellaneous Magazine in 1812. [39]

Whereas the authorship of most Irish novelettes is not known, one Irish author, John Corry, much developed this genre in London. [40] Starting in 1782, he published at least twenty novelettes. A typical example is his Arthur and Mary; or, the Fortunate Fugitives (London, [1803]): it counts a mere thirty-six pages and is set in Ulster after the 1798 rebellion. Some of the titles of Corry’s tales hide their Irish contents: for instance, The Vale of Clywd; or, the Pleasures of Retirement. A Welch Tale (London, [c.1825]) has as its main character Thomas Conolly, whose father was a farmer in the vicinity of Limerick. Another author of an ‘Irish’ novelette is Henry Vincent, whose The Irish Assassin; or, the Misfortunes of the Family of O’Donnell (London, [1800?]) consists of twenty-eight pages illustrated by two murderous scenes (Figure 2).

Fig. 2. Henry Vincent, The Irish Assassin; or, the Misfortunes of the Family of O’Donnell (London: Thomas Tegg, [1800?])

New Dublin Publishers after the Union: Arthur Neil and the Publication of Novelettes
It is only during the 1820s that the publication of original Irish fiction rises, when compared to the preceding twenty years, increasing by a factor of two-and-a-half (Figure 1). The increase in publication of fiction was largely the result of the influx of new publishers in Dublin, following a hiatus of about twelve years after the 1801 Union. The first four individuals who started publishing fiction in the 1810s were: Arthur O’Neil (possibly from 1810 onward, and certainly by 1815), John Cumming (1811 onward), Christopher M. Warren (1815 onward), and Richard Moore Tims (1818 onward). [41] They were followed in the 1820s by William Curry Jr. (1826 onward) and Philip Dixon Hardy (1826 onward). Two more publishers appeared on the Dublin scene in the 1830s and1840s: James Duffy (1835 onward), and James McGlashan (1846 onward). [42]

Of particular interest for this essay is Arthur Neil, who initially operated at Sommerstown near London, and later in London itself from 1799 onward. [43] Neil was a printer who published at least twenty-seven novelettes during that period (Table 2). [44] Two thirds of the works (66.7%) were original productions or pot boilers of existing works. Examples of titles are: the anonymous Adventure of Jemima Russell, Orphan (1799), William Burdett’s The Life and Exploits of Masong, commonly Called Three-Finger’d Jack, the Terror Jamaica (1800), and several adventure stories, including The Perilous Cavern; or, Banditti of the Pyrenees (1803), and C. F. Barrett’s Douglas Castle; or, the Cell of Mystery. A Scottish Tale (1803). Neil’s novelettes published in London mostly consisted of thirty-six to seventy-two pages (see Table 2).

Neil may have been of Irish origin, and probably had an Irish interest before establishing himself as a publisher and printer in Dublin. While still in London, he published the anonymous Adelaide. An Original East Indian Story around 1807; this story was originally issued as a sixteen-part serial in the Dublin Sentimental and Masonic Magazine in 1794-95. [45] Sometime between 1810 and 1814, Neil moved to Dublin, where, under the name O’Neil, he established the ‘Minerva Printing Office’ at 19 Chancery Lane, an allusion to the largest London publisher of novels, the Minerva Press in Leadenhall Street. However, he operated on a much smaller scale and does not appear to have had a commercial relationship with the Minerva Press. In Dublin he published at least ten novelettes between 1814 and 1820 (Table 3). [46] Compared to the novelettes which he published in London, his Dublin editions were only of the shorter kind, comprising thirty-five to forty pages. A representative example is the anonymous Mystery of the Black Convent. An Interesting Spanish Tale, which appeared in Dublin in 1814 (Figure 3). [47] Neil appears to have discontinued publishing novelettes after 1820, because no record of such activity has been found. He ventured into the publishing of the Dublin Weekly Independent in 1822, however, and at least until 1825 he printed chapbooks for the Kildare Place Society [48] which, because of their large print-runs, must have been very lucrative.

Fig. 3. Anon., The Mystery of the Black Convent. An Interesting Spanish Tale (Dublin: A. O’Neil, 1814)

Initially, it was thought that Neil’s novelettes published in Dublin were largely original works, but almost all of them turned out to be reprints. Whether Neil adhered to the tenets of the copyright law is not clear, but this may have been easy for him, because several of the titles were reprints of works he had printed in London before, or may have been reissues of works printed in London. Even after the Union, he was not alone in Dublin reprinting volumes that had been published in London at an earlier date. For example, J. Charles printed Lewis’ The Monk in Dublin in 1808 in two volumes ‘for the Proprietor’, who remains unidentified. The same title appeared under an imprint by J. Saunders in Waterford in 1796 in three volumes, but it carries the watermark 1818, showing its illegal origin. [49] These are only some of the instances by which Irish publishers broke the rules of the new copyright law. In summary, Neil did little to advance the re-emergence of original works of Irish fiction and, between 1814 and 1820, concentrated on the publication of reprints. Nevertheless, he made novelettes available in Ireland at a relatively low cost for, presumably, a broad reading public.

Arthur Neil was the only the Dublin publisher who independently published novelettes. Only one other Dublin publisher, Bennett Dugdale, was also involved in the production of novelettes, but published these in London as a co-production with the London-based concern Tegg and Castleman. Between 1802 and 1805, Tegg and Castleman co-published at least nineteen novelettes in collaboration with Dugdale (Table 4). These little volumes are likely to have been exported to Dublin for distribution by Dugdale, but this remains to be documented.

Novels, Novelettes, And The Development Of Irish Gothic Fiction
The Irish Gothic tradition has been studied mostly starting with the works by the Revd Charles Maturin and Sheridan Le Fanu. [50] However, studies by Siobhan Kilfeather and I. C. Ross have highlighted Gothic novels by eighteenth-century Irish authors. [51] Table 5 places the Irish authors of Gothic fiction in the context of the most well-known English Gothic novels published between 1750 and 1829, such as Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764), William Beckford’s Vathek (1786), Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), and M. G. Lewis’ The Monk (1796). Almost all of these key novels, with the exception of Vathek, were soon republished in Dublin: The Castle of Otranto in 1765, The Mysteries of Udolpho in 1794, and The Monk in 1796, 1797, and 1808.

It is not widely known that prior to the publication of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, two Irish Gothic novels were published in Dublin. The first, The Adventures of Miss Sophia Berkley, by ‘a young lady’ (1760), is an epistolary novel set in England, which includes an abduction and other ‘Gothic’ events of horror. The second, the historian Thomas Leland’s Longsword, Earl of Salisbury (Dublin, 1762; London, 1762), is a historical novel featuring the odious monk, Reginald, the sire of an unholy brood of monastic fiends and baronial tyrants, who appear in scenes of suspense and terror. [52]

The publication of Gothic fiction by Irish authors accelerated between 1786 and 1805 when thirteen such works were published, mostly in London, but a few in the Irish provinces, including Limerick, Cork, and Belfast (Table 5). During this period, the key Irish authors of Gothic fiction were mainly women, and include Anne Fuller, Regina Maria Roche, Anne Burke, Mrs F. C. Patrick, Anna Millikin, Catharine Selden, Marianne Kenley, and Sydney Owenson (later Lady Morgan). Among the small number of male authors in this sub-genre were James White, Stephen Cullen, and Revd Luke Aylmer Conolly. Most of these authors-whether male or female-appear to have published only a single Gothic work. One of the exceptions was Regina Maria Roche, who published numerous Gothic novels, including The Children of the Abbey (1796), Clermont (1798), Nocturnal Visit (1800), and The Houses of Osma and Almeria; or, Convent of St Ildefonso (1810). (Clermont was one of the seven ‘horrid’ titles mentioned by Jane Austen in her Northanger Abbey (1818).)

Very few novel-length Gothic works were produced by Irish authors between 1800 and 1820, but several publishers in London and Dublin introduced Gothic novelettes. Many of these Gothic novelettes published during this period were potboilers of original works. Frank comments:

Characteristically, the Gothic chapbook strips away all of the complications of the immense Gothic plot in order to jar the reader with supernatural shocks. These little Gothics are shortened and plagiarised novels devoted not to the story or to the moral but to spectacular special effects. They are the natural literary link between the unreadable four-volume Gothics of the Eighteenth Century and the brief tale of terror of the later Nineteenth Century with its uncanny climaxes and terminal links. [53]

The period 1800 through the 1820s represents the heyday of novelettes in England, but also in Ireland, where twelve novelettes were published (see Figure 1). A count of ‘chapbooks’ (read novelettes) in the Sadleir-Black collection of Gothic fiction published in the England and Ireland ‘validates that the national list for the macabre in literature reached its apogee between 1810 and 1815 and extended well into the Romantic movement’. [54] From the works issued by novelette publishers, Neil’s Gothic fiction is of special interest here, with representative works being C. F. Barrett’s The Round Tower; or, the Mysterious Witness: An Irish Legendary Tale of the Sixth Century (London, 1803) and Allanrod; or, the Mysterious Freebooter. An Interesting Gothic Tale (Dublin, 1820). Novelettes seem to fallen out of fashion in the 1820s. During that decade, only a few ‘full-fledged’ Irish Gothic novels written by Revd Charles Maturin and Revd George Croly, and then, like in England, almost disappeared from the scene. [55] The genre slumbered until Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu started publishing supernatural fiction from 1845 onwards, and found its apogee with the horror of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which was published in London in 1897.

Although uncertainty exists about the religious orientation of some of the authors of Irish Gothic fiction, most appear to have been Protestant. Many of the Gothic novels are set in Southern European, Catholic countries such as Italy or Spain-see, for instance, Catherine Selden’s Villa Nova (1805). Frank states that Italian villainy is a common theme and that ‘no tale of terror dared to offer itself to the public without one Venetian poisoner, Neapolitan seducer, or Sicilian revenger’. For example, William Henry Ireland set his Gothic stories in Catholic environments, and used his perception of ‘the sinister historical legacy of Catholicism to heighten the melodramatic sentimentality of the Gothic and thereby arouse intense feelings of horror’. [56] Similar to Gothic fiction written by English authors, several Irish works features nuns and monks of debatable trustworthiness and appear decidedly anti-Catholic. For instance, The Mystery of the Black Convent. An Interesting Spanish Tale, published by Neil (under the name O’Neil) in Dublin in 1814, and set in the Castilian monastery of St Lawrence at the time of the Feast of Epiphany in 1140, is highly anti-Catholic and is heavily plagiarised from Lewis’ The Monk. These anti-Catholic productions can be best seen in the context of novels of Protestant propaganda. [57]

Not all Gothic fiction set in Catholic settings, however, was anti-Catholic, as is evident from, for example, Regina Maria Roche’s novels. Mary Tarr in her study on Catholicism in Gothic fiction, pointed out that Catholic churches, monasteries, and convents provide a mise-en-scène for Gothic fiction with characters acting in a spirit of ‘medievalism’:

Ecclesiastical ruins, passageways from castles to convents, chapels, monasteries, convent cells, monastic prisons, chambers of Inquisition, convent gardens, burial vaults in the crypts of chapels or abbey churches-these are the places for which characters in Gothic fiction have special predilection. [58]

Additionally, the description of Catholic rites provided suitable settings for Gothic scenes to induce ‘melodramatic sentimentality’ in readers. For instance, according to Tarr: ‘The Sacrament of Extreme Unction seems to have a three-fold purpose in Gothic fiction: to afford an occasion for candle carrying and hymn singing, to elicit sobs from those attending the sick person, and to hasten the latter’s death!’ [59]

Although the 1798 rebellion and the Union of 1801 contributed to the decline of the Dublin publishing and printing industry, its diminution had already set in earlier, during the 1790s. The industry-judging at least from the publication of novels and novelettes-was not wiped out, and new publishers replaced old publishing houses from the 1810s, a process which accelerated subsequently. The reprinting of English books after the Union, although formally prohibited by newly installed copyright laws, was still practiced on a small scale, but it is not clear to what extent English authors or Irish authors living in England were paid for this privilege.

This essay shows that novelettes, often with a Gothic content, were published mainly in Dublin during the 1810s, which represents a low period of novel publishing in Ireland and England. [60] Novelettes may have filled an economic niche by providing cheap and more affordable alternatives to novels, at a time when the Irish and the English economies were in a downturn, following the financial and commercial crises caused by the war with France. Thus, novelettes because of their lower expense than novels, are likely to have appealed to a poorer segment of the population than the novel-reading public. These hypotheses, however, have several pitfalls. Firstly, Irish novels were published in Dublin alongside the publication of novelettes, even though the number of novels remained small during the first decades of the nineteenth century. Secondly, few novelettes of original fiction were published in Dublin, which undermines the notion of a transition between novelettes and novels in that city. Finally, there was a noticeable regional difference in the impact of the 1798 rebellion and the Union on the fiction markets of Dublin and Cork.

Many of these novelettes may have been forerunners of the ‘penny dreadfuls’, those very cheap and short illustrated stories which became increasingly more popular in mid-nineteenth-century England. [61] Nevertheless, penny dreadfuls do not appear to have been published in Ireland during the first half of the nineteenth century. [62] Novelettes also appear to have been outside of the mainstream of the tradition of Irish short stories, either in the oral or in the written form. Novelettes rarely dealt with Irish situations, and if they did, their contents were far removed from the Gaelic-inspired stories made popular from the late 1820s onward by such authors as William Carleton, Michael James Whitty, and Samuel Lover. [63] Gothic novelettes, like some of the novels on which they often were based, were generally anti-Catholic in tone, describing monastic and conventual abuses. At the same time, while many Gothic novels were well-represented in Dublin circulating libraries, the Gothic novelettes were not. [64] Practically nothing is known about the reaction of officials of the Irish Catholic Church to this type of fiction. When convents started assembling circulating libraries for Roman Catholic lay people, they appear to have excluded anti-Catholic Gothic fiction, in either the novelette or novel format.

Novelettes were pioneering because they routinely were published with one engraved illustration (in contrast, chapbooks were illustrated with woodcuts). In Ireland, their development should be seen against the backdrop of other innovations. For instance, the first triple-decker appeared in Dublin in 1820 (Mrs McNally’s Eccentricity, published in Dublin by John Cumming in 1820), as did the first book to be illustrated in its first, as opposed to a later, edition (William Carleton’s Father Butler, published in Dublin by William Curry, Jr. & Co. in 1829). Mass production of books was greatly enhanced by the introduction of stereotype printing in 1813. [65] Only from the 1820s onwards were novels published in Ireland on a more commercial basis, without authors having to cover the printing costs of their own works. [66] Eventually, this transition heralded a new kind of Irish fiction, independent of the Gothic and adventure stories published in earlier days, and increasingly concerned with national topics, such as Irish farmers’ lives and ancient folklore, and with recent contemporary events, among them the failed 1798 rebellion.

IITable 1: Novelettes With Irish Contents
(* indicates possibly original work)





[James Harrison]*

The Exile of Ireland; or, the Life, Voyages, Travels, and Wonderful Adventures of Captain Winterfield, Who, after Many Successes and Surprising Escapes in Europe and America with English Forces, Became, at Last, a Distinguished Rebel Chief in Ireland.

London: J. Bailey, [1800?], 36pp.

New York Public Library

Henry Vincent*

The Irish Assassin; or, the Misfortunes of the Family of O’Donnell.

London: Thomas Tegg, [1800?], 28pp.



The Life and Travels of James Tudor Owen: Who, amidst a Variety of Other Interesting Particulars [.] Embarks from the Egyptian Shore for Ireland, and There, during the Late War with America, Gains an Ensigncy with the British Forces against that Country [.]

London: S. Fisher & T. Hurst, 1802, 42pp.

National Library of Ireland; Library of Congress, DC

John Corry*

Arthur and Mary; or, the Fortunate Fugitives.

London: B. Crosby & Co. [and 8 others], [1803], 36pp.

Univ. of Virginia Library, VA

C. F. Barrett*

The Round Tower; or, the Mysterious Witness: An Irish Legendary Tale of the Sixth Century. [67]

London: Tegg & Castleman, 1803, 36pp.

Trinity College, Dublin; Univ. of Virginia Library, VA


The Secret Memoirs of Miss Sally Dawson: Otherwise Mrs. Sally M’Clane: Otherwise Mrs. Sarah Mayne,-Widow [.]

Dublin: Printed by Holmes & Charles, 1805 (2nd edn), 50pp.

British Library

[C. Netterville?]*

The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of C. Netterville with the Various Hardships and Vicissitudes that he Encountered both by Sea and Land, until his Safe Return to Ireland; his Native Country.

Dublin: John Martin, [c.1806], 42pp.

Trinity College, Dublin

[Edwin Dillon?]*

A Singular Tale! or, the Adventures of Edwin Dillon, a Young Irishman. Interspersed with Pathetic and Comical Stories [.]

London: Printed for the author by E. Thomas, [1807], 36pp.

Bodleian Library; Univ. of Virginia Library, VA


The Castle of Savina; or, the Irishman in Italy. A Tale.

London: Anne Lemoine & J. Roe, [1807], 60pp

British Library; Bodleian Library


The Bloody Hand; or, the Fatal Cup, a Tale of Horror. [68]

London: Stevens & Co., Kermish & Son, [c.1810], 24pp.

British Library

John Corry*

The Vale of Clywd; or, the Pleasures of Retirement. A Welch Tale.

London: B. Crosby & Co. [and 8 others], [c.1825], 36pp.

National Library of Ireland

Table 2: Novelettes Published by A. Neil in Sommerstown and London
(* indicates possibly original work)






Adventure of Jemima Russell, Orphan [.]

1799, 54pp.

British Library


Memoirs of Captain Shelburne [.] to Which Is now Added, Henry and Charlotte; or, the Fatal Shipwreck [.]

1799 (2nd edn), 52pp.

Birmingham-Jefferson Library, AL; Indiana Library, IN


Duncan; or, the Shade of Gertrude. A Caledonian Tale.

[1800?], 40pp.

British Library; Univ. of Cambridge Library

Thomas Barry*

Narrative of the Singular Adventures and Captivity of Mr. Thomas Barry, among the Monsipi Indians, in the Unexplored Regions of North America [.]

1800, 60pp.

Univ. of Virginia Library


Edward and Ellen [.] To Which is Added, The Unfortunate Father, or, the History of Mr. Crawford.

1800, 51pp.

Princeton Univ. Library, NJ


The Penitent Daughter, or the History of Elinor Burgh. (translation)

1800, 55pp.

British Library


The Interesting Adventures of Tomar, the Celebrated Pirate of Algiers [.]

1801, 36pp.

British Library

W. Burdett*

The Life and Exploits of Masong, commonly Called Three-Finger’d Jack, the Terror Jamaica [.]

1802, 60pp.

British Library


Shrewtzer Castle; or, the perfidious brother: A German romance. Including the pathetic tale of Edmund’s ghost. [69]

1802, 66pp.

Univ. of Cambridge Library; Univ. of Virginia Library, VA; Bodleian Library


The Affecting History of Louisa, the Wandering Maniac, or, “Lady of the Hay-Stack;” [.] [70]

1803, 36pp.

British Library

Dennis Lawler*

The Old Man of the Mountain; or, Interesting History of Gorthmund the Cruel. A Tale of the Twelfth Century.

1803, 38pp.

Yale Univ. Library

H. L. baron Coiffier de Verseax

The Black Knight: An Historical Tale of the Eighth Century. (translation)

1803, 65pp.

Univ. of Cambridge Library


The Perilous Cavern; or, Banditti of the Pyrenees [.] (translation by C. F. Barrett)

1803, 38pp.

Bodleian Library

C. F. Barrett*

Douglas Castle; or, the Cell of Mystery. A Scottish Tale. [71]

1803, 38pp.

Univ. of Virginia Library, VA


Torbolton Abbey: Or, the Prophetic Vision: A Gothic Tale.

1804, 38pp.

Princeton Univ. Library, NJ


The English Fleet in 1342, or the Heroic Exploits of the Countess of Montfort [.]

1804, 61pp.

U.S. Navy Dept. Library, Naval History Center, DC

[Dennis Lawler]*

Midnight Spells! or, the Spirit of Saint Osmond: A Romance.

[1804], 38pp.

British Library, Bodleian Library


Affecting Narrative of the Deposition, Trial, and Execution of Louis XVI: The Late Unfortunate King of France [.]

1804, 62pp.

Atheneum Library of Philadelphia


Edmund Ironside, and the Heroic Princess; or, the Invasion of England by the Danes: An Historic Tale.

1804, 38pp.

Bodleian Library

P. Longueville*

A New and Improved Edition of The English Hermit; or, Surprising Adventures of Philip Quarll [.]

[1805?], 72pp.

Bodleian Library

I. Crookenden*

The Skeleton; or, the Mysterious Discovery: A Gothic Romance. [72]

1805, 38pp.

Bodleian Library; Univ. of Virginia Library, VA


The Mystery of the Black Convent. An Interesting Spanish Tale of the Eleventh Century.

[1805 or earlier], 36pp.

Univ. of Virginia Library, VA

[C. F. Barrett]

The London Apprentice; or, Singular Adventures of Henry and Zelima. An Historical Tale.

1805, 38pp.

British Library

C. F. Barrett*

Allanrod; or, the Mysterious Freebooter. An Historical Tale of the Sixteenth Century.

[1806], 38pp.

Bodleian Library; Harvard College Library


Interesting History of Crispin & Crispianus, the Royal Shoe-Makers. Including the Loves and Singular Adventures of Sir Hugh and the Fair Winifred [.]

[1807?], 38pp.

British Library

M. C. Springsguth*

Imperial Clemency, or, the Murderers Reprieved[.] An Interesting Tale.

1808, 24pp. [73]

Cleveland Public Library, OH


Mortimer Castle, or the Revengeful Barons: A Romance.

1809, 28pp.

Univ. of Carolina Library, Chapel Hill, NC

Table 3: Novelettes Printed by A. O’neil at the Minerva Printing Office in Dublin
(* indicates possibly original work)






The Life and Adventures of that Notorious Robber and Assassin, Socivizca [.]

[1808-24], 35pp.

Bodleian Library; Univ. of Delaware Library


Love in the Brazils, or, the Honest Criminal: Exemplified in the Interesting History of Henry Monkville and Zara D’Almaida.

[1808-24], 40pp.

Univ. of Delaware Library

[C. F. Barrett]

The London Apprentice, or Singular Adventures of Henry & Zelima: An Interesting Historical Tale.

[1808-24], 36pp.

British Library


The Mystery of the Black Convent. An Interesting Spanish tale. (First published by A. Neil in London in 1805 or earlier)

1814, 36pp.

Bodleian Library


The Affecting History of Louisa, the Wandering Maniac, or, “Lady of the hay-stack;” [.] (first published by A. Neil in London in 1804)

1814 (2nd edn), 36pp.

Bodleian Library


The Interesting Adventures of Tomar, thr [sic] Celebrated Pirate of Algiers [.] (First published by A. Neil in London in 1801)

1816, 36pp.

Bodleian Library


Perilous Cavern; or, the Banditti of the Pyrenees [.] (First published by A. Neil in London in 1803)

1816, 35pp.

Bodleian Library


The Accurate History of Crispin and Crispianus, the Royal Shoemakers: Together with Other Interesting Particulars Relative to the Gentle Craft [.] (First published by A. Neil in London in 1807?)

1816, 36pp.

British Library

[Dennis Lawler]

Midnight Spells! or, the Spirit of Saint Osmond. A Tale. (First published by A. Neil in London in 1804)

1819, 38pp.

Bodleian Library

[C. F. Barrett]

Allanrod; or, the Mysterious Freebooter. An Interesting Gothic Tale.

1820, 40pp.

Northwestern Univ. Library, IL


Table 4: Novelettes Published by Tegg and Castleman in London,
and Co-published by B. Dugdale in Dublin and by Others Elsewhere






Almagro & Claude; or the Monastic Murder [.]

n.d., 40pp.

British Library, Bodleian Library


The Veiled Picture; or the Mysteries of Gorgono, the Appenine Castle of Signor Androssi [.]

[1802], 72pp.

British Library

[C. F. Barrett]

Mary Queen of Scots, or the Royal Captive [.]

[1803 or earlier], 36pp.

British Library, National Library of Scotland


Albani: Or the Murderers of his Child [.]

[1803], 72pp.

British Library


Blanche and Carlos; or the Constant Lovers [.]

[1803], 72pp. [75]

British Library


De La Mark and Constantia; or, Ancient Heroism. A Gothic Tale.

[1803], 72pp.

British Library


Domestic Misery, or the Victim of Seduction, a Pathetic Tale [.]

[1803], 60pp.

British Library


Father Innocent, Abbot of the Capuchins; or, the Crimes of Cloisters.

[1803], 72pp.

British Library


Ildefonzo & Alberoni, or Tales of Horrors

[1803], 72pp.

British Library


Lermos and Rosa, or the Unfortunate Gipsey [.]

[1803], 72pp.

British Library


The Secret Tribunal; or, the Court of Winceslaus. A Mysterious Tale.

[1803], 72pp.

British Library


Ulric and Gustavus, or the Unhappy Swedes; a Finland Tale.

[1803], 35pp.

British Library


Phantasmagoria, or the Development of Magical Deception.

[1803], 72pp.

British Library


Ibraham, the Grand Vizier, or Turkish Honour and European Friendship [.]

1804. [76]

Bodleian Library


Lewis Tyrrell, or, the Depraved Count [.]

[1804], 72pp.

British Library


Mathilda; or the Adventures of an Orphan, an Interesting Tale.

[1804], 72pp.

British Library


Maximilian and Selina; or, the Mysterious Abbot. A Flemish Tale.

[1804], 72pp.

British Library


The Soldier’s Daughter; or the Fair Fugitive. A Pathetic Tale.

[1804], 36pp.

British Library


The Manoeuvres of Don Pedro Antos, the Famous Swindler of Segovia [.]

[1805], 40pp.

Bodleian Library

Table 5: The Development Of Irish Gothic Fiction In The Context Of English Gothic Fiction
(key volumes in bold; Dublin imprints in bold)


(place of first publication)


(key authors only, London)


‘A Young Lady’, The Adventures of Miss Sophia Berkley (Dublin).

British Library


T. Leland, Longsword, Earl of Salisbury (London).

Trinity College, Dublin; British Library


H. Walpole, The Castle of Otranto


[T. S. Whalley], Edwy and Edilda (London).

Republished as Edwy and Edilda: A Gothic Tale (Dublin, 1783). [77]

University of Virginia, VA


R. Jephson, dramatised Castle of Otranto as The Count of Narbonne.

British Library


A. Fuller, Alan Fitz-Osborne (Dublin).

British Library

W. Beckford, Vathek


J. White, Earl of Strongbow (London).

Univ. of Cambridge Library; Yale Univ. Library


R. M. Roche, The Maid of the Hamlet (London)

British Library (2nd edn, 1800)


S. Cullen, The Haunted Priory (London)

British Library

A. Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho


A. Burke, The Sorrows of Edith (London)

Univ. of Virginia Library

M. G. Lewis, The Monk


Mrs F. C. Patrick, More Ghosts! (London)

Harvard University Library


‘A Young Lady’, The Monastery of Gondolfo. A Romance (Limerick).

Trinity College, Dublin


A. Millikin, Plantagenet; or, Secrets of the House of Anjou (Cork)

National Library of Ireland; Trinity College, Dublin


C. Selden, Villa Nova (Cork).

Dublin Public Library (Gilbert collection)

M. Kenley, The Cottage of the Appenines or the Castle of Novina (Belfast)

British Library

C. R. Maturin, The Fatal Revenge (London)

British Library; National Library of Ireland, Trinity College, Dublin

S. Owenson, The Novice of St. Dominick (London)

British Library; National Library of Ireland, Trinity College, Dublin


L. Conolly, The Friar’s Tale; or, Memoirs of the Chevalier Orsino (London) [78]

British Library; Univ. of Virginia Library


Reprints Of Novelettes Of Gothic Fiction (Dublin). See Table 2.


C. R. Maturin, Melmoth the Wanderer (London)

British Library; National Library of Ireland, Trinity College, Dublin


G. Croly, Salathiel (London)

Corvey Library

. A. M.’s note to the Dublin Magazine; or, a General Repository of Philosophy, Belles-Lettres, and Miscellaneous Information 1 (1820), 88-91.

2. The term ‘original Irish fiction’ in this essays refers to those works written by Irish authors or concerning Ireland and/or the Irish, published for the first time rather than being reprinted. The following criteria were used to identify original fiction: known Irish author, Irish contents, and the presence of a Dublin imprint without a London imprint prior to the Dublin publication. Thus, the identification of original Irish fiction in many cases partly rests on the absence of the same title published in London or in another location. The present authors checked online databases such as ESTC, NSTC, OCLC, RLIN, and many other primary sources. Publication in the same year in Dublin and London has been conservatively interpreted that the Dublin edition was a reprint of the London one. However, the precise priority of publication is usually impossible to establish because of lack of information of release dates in the two cities. For this, and other reasons, it is quite possible that future research will clarify and correct works identified as ‘original Irish novels’. Note that some of the ‘original’ works were derivatives of or heavily inspired by English or French precursors.

3. Rolf Loeber and Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, A Guide to Irish Fiction 1650-1900: A Mirror of the Times (MS in preparation).

4. Most literary studies have emphasised novels instead: see Peter Garside, James Raven, and Rainer Schöwerling (gen. eds), The English Novel 1770-1829: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction Published in the British Isles, 2 vols (Oxford: OUP, 2000); and James Raven, British Fiction 1750-1770. A Chronological Check-List of Prose Fiction Printed in Britain and Ireland (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1987). Some scholars outside of Ireland have examined novelettes (e.g. Frederick S. Frank, The First Gothics. A Critical Guide to the English Gothic Novel (New York: Garland, 1987)), but have not focused on novelettes published in Ireland or written by Irish authors. Many of the novelettes mentioned in this paper are not to be found in the otherwise excellent survey by Frank.

5. The OED defines a ‘novelette’ as ‘a story of moderate length having the characteristics of a novel’. The length of novelettes varied, but they were distinct from novels (Frank, The First Gothics, p. 31). Scholars disagree as to the word-length of this kind of short fiction, with Robert D. Mayo setting a minimum of 5,000 words for novelettes and 12,000 for novels, while Boyce has taken 12,000 words as the dividing line between short fiction and novels-both estimates are cited in Wendell V. Harris, British Short Fiction in the Nineteenth Century: A Literary and Bibliographic Guide (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1979), p. 11.

6. Also called by Frank, ‘chapbook Gothic’ and, referring to their blue covers, ‘bluebook Gothic’ (Frank, The First Gothics, pp. xxvi-xxvii and 433). Novelettes were not necessarily restricted to Gothic fiction.

7. Not discussed here are chapbooks published in Ireland, for which see Rolf Loeber and Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, ‘Fiction Available to and Written for Cottagers and their Children’ in The Experience of Reading: Irish Historical Perspectives, edd. B. Cunningham and M. Kennedy (Dublin: Rare Books Group, 1999), pp. 124-72.

8. An exception is the Sadleir-Black collection at the University of Virginia. Novelettes published in Ireland are not examined in the otherwise excellent Print and Popular Culture in Ireland, 1750-1850 by Niall Ó Ciosáin (Basingstoke: Macmillan, and New York: St Martin’s Press, 1997).

9. Judging from the following catalogues: Catalogue of Gerrard Tyrrells Public Library, 11, Lower Sackville-Street (Dublin, [1834]); Catalogue of the Library, 31, Lower Sackville-Street, (near Carlisle Bridge,) J. Kempston, Proprietor (Dublin, corrected to 1 Jan 1819); Catalogue of Hodgson’s New Circulating Library (Belfast, 1838). The lowest cost books sold by these libraries were 3s or more. The Belfast Reading Society maintained a library which was not intended for the reading of novels and the selection was to exclude ‘any common novel, or farce, or other book of trivial amusement’-Mary Casteleyn, A History of Literacy and Libraries in Ireland (Aldershot: Gower, 1984), p. 104.

10. The present authors have not seen original bindings of Irish novelettes of the period, because all copies known to us have been rebound. However, novelettes originally were bound in blue wrappers, and are thus sometimes termed bluebooks: see Angela Koch, ‘Gothic Bluebooks in the Princely Library of Corvey and Beyond’, Cardiff Corvey: Reading the Romantic Text 9 (Dec 2002). Online: Internet (20 Feb 2003): < cc09_n01.html>.

11. For example, William Burdett’s The Life and Exploits of Three Finger’d Jack (Sommerstown: A. Neil, 1801) is associated with the popular pantomimic drama of Obi; or, Three-Fingered Jack, first performed at the Theatre-Royal, Haymarket, London, on 5 July 1800, with the libretto by John Fawcett and the music by Samuel Arnold. Also, the title of The Perilous Cavern (London: A. Neil, 1803) stated that the story was performed in Paris and at Astley’s Amphitheater in London.

12. Novelettes were also distinct from the didactic publications of the Kildare Place Society in Dublin, an organisation established to produce educational books from the mid-1810s onwards. The books included short fiction of an educational type for juveniles and adults. These publications usually consisted of either seventy-two or 180 pages, which the committee thought would appeal to ‘many people in the lower class’. The cost of these volumes were in the 6d-6½d range, thus similar in price to the shorter novelettes-see H. Hislop, ‘The Kildare Place Society 1811-31; an Irish Experiment in Popular Education’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, Trinity College, Dublin, 1990), pp. 208-10. Novelettes, in contrast to the Kildare Place publications, focused more on fantastic tales.

13. The date 1750 was selected because very few original Irish novels were being published in the earlier decades of the eighteenth century (for example, the 1740s saw the publication of only three works of fiction).

14. James Raven, ‘Historical Introduction: The Novel Comes of Age’, in The English Novel, I, 26-27.

15. Raven, British Fiction, p. 8, Table 1; Raven, ‘The Novel Comes of Age’, p. 26: Table 1 and p. 72: Table 11 (figures derived from these tables). Raven records that 13 and 19 ‘new’ novels were published in Dublin for the two periods (compared to 28 and 27 recorded by us for the same periods). This difference can be attributed to different definitions as to what constitutes a novel as well as more recently discovered titles.

16. Richard Cole, Irish Booksellers and English Writers 1740-1800 (London: Mansell, 1986), p. 195.

17. Raven, ‘The Novel Comes of Age’, p. 37: Table 4.

18. Cole, p. 86; Raven, ‘The Novel Comes of Age’, p. 37: Table 4; C. Benson, ‘Printers and Booksellers in Dublin 1800-1850’, in Spreading the Word: The Distribution Networks of Print, 1550-1850, edd. Robin Myers and Michael Harris (Winchester: St Paul’s Bibliographies, 1990), pp. 47-48.

19. Cited in Patrick Fagan, A Georgian Celebration. Irish Poets of the Eighteenth Century (Dublin: Branar, 1989), p. 147.

20. Mary Pollard, Dublin’s Trade in Books 1550-1800 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), p. 224.

21. Cole, p. 94.

22. Some of the identified Irish female authors who published in Dublin include: Mrs Burke, E. Connor, Anne Fuller, and Tamary Elizabeth Hurrell.

23. See also her A Collection of Novels, Selected and Revised by Mrs Griffith, 2 vols (London, 1777), which includes Zayde by M. de Segrais, Oroonoko by Aphra Behn, The Princess of Cleves by Elizabeth Griffith, and The Fruitless Inquiry by Eliza Haywood.

24. The earliest known example was the anonymously published Royal Hibernian Tales; being a Collection of the Most Entertaining Stories Now Extant, which first appeared in 1825 or earlier, and which is only known from later copies.

25. David Dickson, ‘Death of a Capital? Dublin and the Consequences of Union’, in Two Capitals: London and Dublin 1500-1840, edd. Peter Clark and Raymond Gillespie (Oxford and New York: British Academy/OUP, 2001), p. 127.

26. ‘Extracts Respecting the Present State of Ireland’, Walker’s Hibernian Magazine (Dec 1801), 738-39; see also Kevin Whelan, ‘The United Irishmen, the Enlightenment and Popular Culture’, in The United Irishmen. Republicanism, Radicalism, and Rebellion, edd. David Dickson, et al. (Dublin: Lilliput Press, 1993), pp. 276-77; Cole, p. 6.

27. Cole, pp. 152, 154-55,198.

28. Judging from our records. A shorter list has been published by Tom Clyde, Irish Literary Magazines. An Outline History and Descriptive Bibliography (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2003).

29. James W. Phillips, Printing and Bookselling in Dublin, 1670-1800 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1998); Pollard, Dublin’s Trade in Books, pp. 150, 211: Graph 9; Raven, ‘The Novel Comes of Age’, p. 71.

30. Phillips, pp. 28-29: Graph 1 and p. 39: Graph 2. Figure 1 shows a proportional larger decrease for master booksellers than for irregular booksellers, while Figure 2 shows a proportional larger decrease in irregular printers than for printer-booksellers.

31. Mary Pollard, A Dictionary of Members of the Dublin Book Trade, 1550-1800 (London: Bibliographical Society, 2000), pp. 98, 109-10, 310-11, 316; Cole, p. 33.

32. Cole, p. 156.

33. Pollard, Dictionary of Members of the Dublin Book Trade, pp. 73-75, 100-101.

34. Dickson, passim; Cole, p. 153.

35. Loeber and Stouthamer-Loeber, passim.

36. Bennett Dugdale, 1756-1826, was a prominent Methodist and bookseller, printer, and stationer; an 1828 advertisement of the auction of his stock refers to 60,000 volumes-J. Benson, ‘The Dublin Book Trade 1801-1850’ (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Trinity College, Dublin, 2000), p. 585; A Catalogue of the Bradshaw Collection of Irish Books in the University Library, Cambridge (Cambridge, 1916), I, 410-11.

37. R. Loeber and M. Stouthamer-Loeber, ‘John Connor: A Maverick Cork Publisher of Literature’, Eighteenth- Nineteenth-Century Irish Fiction Newsletter 5 (May 1998)-issued for private circulation.

38. Frank, The First Gothics, pp. xxvi-xvii.

39. Robert D. Mayo, (The English Novel in the Magazines, 1740-1815 (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1962), p. 191. The serial was published in nos 16-23 (19 May 19-7 July 1812).

40. It is not clear whether he is the same John Corry, who published Odes and Elegies, Descriptive & Sentimental: With The Patriot, a Poem in Newry in 1797.

41. Ó Ciosáin, p. 57; Catalogue of the Bradshaw Collection, I, 547.

42. Catalogue of the Bradshaw Collection, III, 653. The dates are approximate and may need to be revised in the future when more detailed bibliographical information will become available. The information on James Duffy is with thanks from Clare Hutton (personal communication, June 1998).

43. He can be identified as the printer A. O’Neil, who together with W. Brown, published The Cabinet-Makers’ London Book of Prices (London, 1793), but he was subsequently known as A. Neil (William B. Todd, A Directory of Printers and Others in the Allied Trades, London and Vicinity 1800-1840 (London: Printing Historical Society, 1972), p. 138; Catalogue of the Bradshaw Collection, I, 515). The last publication by A. Neil at his London address is his Imperial Clemency (London, 1808). His address in Sommerstown was 30, Chalton Street, and in London, 448, Strand. There are several reasons confirming that the A. Neil in London and the A. O’Neil in Dublin are the same person. For example, C. F. Barrett’s The London Apprentice was published by A. Neil in London in 1805, and republished by O’Neil in Dublin at an unspecified date; the same applied to The Mystery of the Black Convent, which first was published by A. Neil in London [1805 or earlier], and then was published by A. O’Neil in Dublin in 1814.

44. The volumes were identified through our collection, supplemented by a search in the electronic databases of ESTC, the British Library Online Catalogue (BLC), COPAC, OCLC (WorldCat), and the Sadleir-Black collection.

45. It was serialised in nos 4 (March 1794)-6 (June 1795)-see Mayo, p. 10.

46. This does not include the anonymous A Biographical Sketch of the Adventures of Jeremiah Grant, commonly called Captain Grant (Dublin, [1816]), J. Reid’s Emma; or, the Victim of Despair. A Poetic Tale (Dublin, 1821), and National Feeling; or, the History of Fitzsimon. A Novel, with Historical and Political Remarks (by ‘an Irishman’) in 1821.

47. It is practically certain that this is a reprint, because an undated copy in the Sadleir-Black collection with a slightly longer title, was published by A. Neil in London, and probably appeared in 1805 or earlier (the period during which Neil lived in London). This title is not to be confused with The Black Convent; or, a Tale of Feudal Times (London, 1819). O’Neil also worked for the publishers Graisberry and Campbell (Charles Benson, Personal communication, 28 Feb 2003).

48. A copy of The Voyage of Commodore Anson around the World (Dublin, 1825) shows that at that time he was still situated at 17 Chancery-Lane (Bickersteth Cat. 53/93).

49. Some other examples: Wogan, Burnet, Parry, Holmes and Charles reprinted in 1804 the novel The Sylph, which had been originally published in London in 1779; an undated version of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto was reprinted in Belfast prior to 1839. Novelettes were also published by Edward Henry Morgan at the Classic Novels Office in Cork during the first decade of the nineteenth century. An example is his reprinting of Frances Sheridan’s The History of Nourjahad (London, 1767), which he published in 1803 in a condensed 74-page format.

50. See e.g. W. J. McCormack, Sheridan Le Fanu and Victorian Ireland (Oxford: OUP, 1980).

51. Siobhan Kilfeather, ‘ “Strangers at Home”: Political Fictions by Women in Eighteenth-Century Ireland’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, Princeton University, 1989). I. C. Ross, ‘Fiction to 1800’, in The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, gen. ed. Seamus Deane, 5 vols (Derry: Field Day, and Cork: Cork University Press, 1991-2002), I (550-1850), 682-87.

52. Frank, The First Gothics, p. 243; M. Summers, The Gothic Quest: A History of the Gothic Novel (London: Fortune Press, [1938]), pp. 158 and 162.

53. Frank, The First Gothics, p. 20.

54. Frederick S. Frank, ‘Gothic Gold: The Sadleir-Black Gothic collection, 1998’ Online: Internet (10 Mar 2001): <>.

55. Garside, ‘The English Novel in the Romantic Era: Consolidation and Dispersal’, The English Novel, II, 57: Table 3.

56. Frank, The First Gothics, pp. 90 and171.

57. Mary Tarr, Catholicism in Gothic Fiction (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1946), p. 121. Anti-Catholic sentiments were also evident from novels published in Ireland: for example, Simon Brerington’s The Adventures of Signor Gaudentio di Lucca, being the Substance of his Examination before the Fathers of the Inquisition, at Bologna, in Italy, giving an Account of an Unknown Country in the Midst of the Desarts [sic] of Africa. Compiled from the Original Manuscript in St Mark’s Library, at Venice. With Critical Notes by the Learned Signor Rhedi. Translated from the Italian. To Which is Added, (as an Appendix) the History of the Inquisition, giving an Account of its Establishment, the Treatment of its Prisoners, the Torture Inflicted on Them, &c. &c. first appeared in London in 1763, and was republished in Dublin by J. and J. Carrick in 1798, and again by John Cumming in 1810.

58. Ibid., p. 105.

59. Ibid., p. 34.

60. Garside, p. 38: Fig. 1.

61. See Elizabeth James and Helen R. Smith, Penny Dreadfuls and Boys’ Adventures (London: British Library, 1998); and also the Jarndyce Catalogues nos 150: ‘Bloods and Penny Dreadfuls’ and 151: ‘A Feast of Blood’.

62. Based on our survey, and confirmed by Janet Nassau and Brian Lake of Jarndyce, London (personal communication, Dec 2002).

63. See Georges Zimmerman, The Irish Storyteller (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2001).

64. Among these were Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Luke Conolly’s The Friar’s Tale, M. G. Lewis’s The Monk, John Polidori’s The Vampyre, Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho, and Miss Owenson’s The Novice of St Dominick. The present authors did not find William Beckford’s Vathek in these libraries (Catalogue of Gerrard Tyrrells Public Library, 11, Lower Sackville-Street (Dublin, [1834]); Catalogue of the Library, 31, Lower Sackville-Street, (near Carlisle Bridge,) J. Kempston, Proprietor (Dublin, corrected to 1 January 1819); Catalogue of Hodgson’s New Circulating Library (Belfast, 1838)).

65. Grierson introduced stereotype printing in Dublin with the publication of The New Testament (Dublin: G. Grierson, 1813) (mentioned in Rowan cat. 50, part A/84).

66. Between 1750 and 1819, between 18% and 33% of original novels published during each decade were printed ‘for the author’. Only during 1760s was this zero, and during the 1820s it was 5%.

67. Gothic tale set in Ireland during Viking times (Frank, The First Gothics, p. 25).

68. Gothic tale, featuring Reginal O’Mara and his grandfather (ibid., p. 37).

69. A Gothic tale (ibid., p. 406).

70. Gothic adaptation of a pathetic case recorded by Hannah More. Based on George Henry Glasse’s translation of L’Inconnue histoire véritable (ibid., p. 2).

71. Gothic tale set in Scotland (ibid., p. 24).

72. Gothic tale (ibid., p. 80).

73. Printed and sold by M. C. Springsguth and A. Neil.

74. Based on Angela Koch, ‘ “The Absolute Horror of Horrors” Revised. A Bibliographical Checklist of Early-Nineteenth-Century Gothic Bluebooks’, Cardiff Corvey: Reading the Romantic Text 9 (Dec 2002). Online: Internet (20 Feb 2003): < articles/cc09_n03.html>); COPAC.

75. B. Dugdale and M. Keene in Dublin, and [J.] Bull in Waterford.

76. Pagination is from pp. 109-44, indicating that the text originally belonged to a larger work. The series title is Affecting Tales.

77. Novel written in verse. Copy in Sadleir-Black collection, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA., attributed to the English author T. S. Whalley. Autograph signed by Eliz. Whitney, MS note tipped in this copy has the following postscript: ‘Those who are acquainted with the history of some of the leading Irish families, and who have turned over such scanty records of the times in which the scenes we have described are laid, as are still accessible, will have no difficulty whatever in recognizing, in the leading incidents and characters of the foregoing tale, the hard, stern lines of recorded TRUTH.’

78. It is possible that this tale was first published serialised in The Sentimental and Masonic Magazine (Dublin) from July to Oct 1792 (see Clyde, p. 70).