Memoirs of a Coxcomb

Front Cover
Broadview Press, Apr 29, 2005 - Fiction - 284 pages
0 Reviews

Published in 1751, John Cleland’s second novel (after the notorious Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) is a witty and complex portrait of aristocratic British society in the mid-eighteenth century. Its young protagonist, Sir William Delamore, meets, falls in love with, and pursues the mysterious heiress Lydia. Rather than a conventional romance, however, the novel is an acerbic social satire, and Sir William an unreliable narrator and incomplete hero. In its experiments with narrative form and its sophisticated examination of masculine identity, Memoirs of a Coxcomb is an important marker in the development of the eighteenth-century novel.

This Broadview edition includes a critical introduction that places Memoirs in the context of Cleland’s life and literary career. Also included is a broad selection of appendices, including Tobias Smollett’s review of the novel, selections from Cleland’s criticism, three texts by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and contemporary documents on masculinity (particularly the figures of the coxcomb and the fop) and prostitution.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


A Brief Chronology
Tobias Smolletts Review of Memoirs of a Coxcomb
On Coxcombs Fops and Masculinity q
Three Texts by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Cleland on Prostitution from The Case of
Select Bibliography

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 14 - These books are written chiefly to the young, the ignorant, and the idle, to whom they serve as lectures of conduct, and introductions into life

About the author (2005)

Hal Gladfelder is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Rochester, New York. He is the author of Criminality and Narrative in Eighteenth-Century England: Beyond the Law (2001).

Bibliographic information