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The Diaries of Elizabeth Inchbald


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The diaries of Elizabeth Inchbald (1753-1821) are rare and fragile documents which present a unique view of Romantic-era Britain. An energetic woman, Inchbald achieved fame as an actress, novelist, playwright and critic. Her career introduced her to a wide group of people and she counted William Godwin, Thomas Holcroft, Maria Edgeworth, Sarah Siddons and John Philip Kemble among her friends.

Published here for the first time, her eleven surviving diaries are a fascinating vignette of everyday life in the theatrical and literary circles of eighteenth-century London. They record Inchbald's reading habits, social contacts and professional activities, itemize her day-to-day expenditure, and chart the development of current affairs such as the Napoleonic Wars and the trial of Queen Caroline.

The diaries are fully transcribed, but a sense of the original documents is preserved through selected photographic reproductions, and descriptions of the physical notebooks. The editorial apparatus also contextualises the diaries and provides biographical details for Inchbald and the other figures she encountered.

The edition will appeal to scholars specializing in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Romantic Studies, Women's Writing and Theatrical History.


- New transcriptions from documents held at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC

- A sense of the original manuscript is preserved through selected photographic reproductions and descriptions of the notebooks

- Full editorial apparatus includes a substantial general introduction, a chronology of Inchbald's life, brief introductions to each diary, bibliographical guides to figures mentioned, and textual notes

- Consolidated index in the final volume

Bibliographical information:

Inchbald, Elizabeth. The Diaries of Elizabeth Inchbald. Edited by Ben P. Robertson. 3 vols. London; Brookfield, Vt.: Pickering & Chatto, 2007.

- Vol. 1. The Early Years on the Stage - Scotland, France, Ireland, the Provinces, and London, 1776-1781

- Vol. 2. The Height of Fame - Acting, Playwriting, and Novel Writing, 1782-1793

- Vol. 3. The Introspective Years - Drama Criticism, Napoleonic Wars, and the Queen's Trial, 1807-1820

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