Secresy, second edition
Secresy was Eliza Fenwick's only work for adults—a fact that may help to explain why this extraordinary novel has been so thoroughly overlooked. On one level this is a book that presents fascinating challenges to traditional structures of class and gender. Whereas Mr. Valmont, the villain of the piece, rejects merely the surface forms of fashionable society, the story of his niece Sibella and her friend Caroline implicitly rejects the substance as well as the trappings of a system that rested on class privilege and on female dependence. Secresy is also, though, a remarkable novel of human relationships: of sexuality (Sibella's pregnancy is the occasion for the secrecy that gives the book its title), and of romantic love, but also the female friendship between Sibella and Caroline that is very much at the heart of the book. The relationships—and the grand themes—are expressed through an epistolary technique through which Fenwick (in the editor's words) shows "a breadth of sympathy which can find comedic pleasure even in what is disapproved."
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Fenwick s first book for children
Fenwick s second adult novel
Fenwick s correspondence
Adieu Arabella armoury arms ARTHUR MURDEN Barbados Barlowe Hall beauty believe Boyer CAROLINE ASHBURN chaise Charles Lamb charms child CLEMENT MONTGOMERY dare Davenport dear door Dr Williams's Library Earl Eliza Anne Eliza Fenwick expected eyes farewel father fear feel Fenwick friendship give Griffiths hand happiness hear heard heart heaven Henry Crabb Robinson honour hope hour imagination Jane Porter JANETTA LAUNDY John Fenwick Lady Barlowe Lady Laura Lady Mary letter live London looked Lord Filmar madam marriage Mary Hays ment mind Miss Ashburn Miss Valmont Monckton mont's morning mother never night perhaps Pforzheimer pity pleasure possess recollect remember replied Secresy servant SIBELLA VALMONT sigh Sir Thomas Barlowe smile spoke talk tell thee thing thou thought tion told turned uncle uncle's Valmont castle Walter Wedd wish woman wood write your's
Page 15 - My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.
Page 26 - I may be accused of arrogance; still I must declare what I firmly believe, that all the writers who have written on the subject of female education and manners from Rousseau to Dr. Gregory, have -contributed to render women more artificial, weak characters, than they would otherwise have been; and, consequently, more useless members of society.
Page 27 - It is vain to expect virtue from women till they are in some degree independent of men; nay, it is vain to expect that strength of natural affection which would make them good wives and mothers. Whilst they are absolutely dependent on their husbands they will be cunning, mean, and selfish...
Page 26 - I do not believe that a private education can work the wonders which some sanguine writers have attributed to it. Men and women must be educated, in a great degree, by the opinions and manners of the society they live in. In every age there has been a stream of popular opinion that has carried all before it, and given a family character, as it were, to the century. It may then fairly be inferred, that, till society be differently constituted, much cannot be expected from education.
Page 27 - How much more respectable is the woman who earns her own bread by fulfilling any duty, than the most accomplished beauty!