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Regency novels

Every young lady in the Regency period would have been familiar with the circulating library - an important place for meeting friends and acquiring the latest novels, in addition to those that might appear on the bookshelves at home.

But the question arises, “What would a young lady in the Regency be reading?”

Here is a list of novels and similar books which were in print prior to, or published during, the Regency period, alphabetically by title:

The Adventures of Joseph Andrews – Henry Fielding – 1742
A satire based on Richardson’s novel, Pamela. Joseph Andrews is the brother of Richardson’s Pamela.

Amelia – Henry Fielding - 1751

Anne of Geierstein – Sir Walter Scott - 1829
A Waverley novel.

The Antiquary – Sir Walter Scott -1816
A Waverley novel.

Belinda – Maria Edgeworth – 1801

The Betrothed – Sir Walter Scott – 1825
A Waverley novel.

Camilla or A Picture of Youth – Fanny Burney – 1796

Captain Jack – Daniel Defoe - 1722

Captain Singleton – Daniel Defoe - 1720

Castle Rackrent – Maria Edgeworth – 1800

The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne – Mrs Radcliffe – 1789
A Gothic novel

Cecilia or Memoirs of an Heiress – Fanny Burney - 1782

Clarissa or The History of a Young Lady - Samuel Richardson - 1747-8
Epistolary novel – tragedy – tale of Clarissa Harlowe who is being forced to make a loveless marriage and so runs off with the romantic Robert Lovelace, a rake and a libertine, but who does not offer her love. Clarissa dies apart from any of them!

Cloudesley - William Godwin - 1830

Corinne - Madame de Stael – 1807

Emma – Jane Austen – December 1815
Published by John Murray - novel is dedicated to the Prince Regent.

Evelina or The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World – Fanny Burney - 1778

The Fair Maid of Perth – Sir Walter Scott – 1828
A Waverley novel.

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley – 1818
First published anonymously. Series of letters between Captain Robert Walton and his sister, telling stories from three different perspectives: Walton himself, Frankenstein and the monster.
Walton is a failed writer turned explorer who meets Victor Frankenstein searching for the hideous beast that he had created. Frankenstein had abandoned the creature horrified by what he had made, but the creature had returned and confronted him, telling his creator of his journey to self-awareness and rejection because of his fearful appearance even when trying to do good. The monster had become a murderer and demanded that Frankenstein make him a mate, but Walton cannot bring himself to do so, fearing a whole family of monsters. The beast is furious and therefore wreaks vengeance on humanity and murders Frankenstein’s friends and family until eventually Frankenstein dies with a broken heart. The monster, however, is not appeased and seeks his own destruction. Achieved mixed critical reception, but immediate public popularity. Dramatised as early as 1823.

Gaston de Blondeville – Mrs Radcliffe - 1826

Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift –
Stories of fantastic travels – a satire of religion, politics and law.

Guy Mannering –Sir Walter Scott – 1815
A Waverley novel.

The History of Sir Charles Grandison – Samuel Richardson - 1753-4
Hero who is a model of benevolence – dilemma between two women – Italian Catholic and Englishwoman – novel of manners rather than plot.

The Italian – Mrs Radcliffe - 1797

Ivanhoe – Sir Walter Scott - 1819

Kenilworth – Sir Walter Scott – 1821
A Waverley novel.

Leonora – Maria Edgeworth - 1806

Mandeville – William Godwin – 1817

Mansfield Park – Jane Austen - 9 May 1814
Published by Thomas Egerton .

Memoirs of Modern Philosophers - Elizabeth Hamilton – 1800
Published under the pen name of Geoffry Jarvis

The Modern Griselda – Maria Edgeworth - 1805

Moll Flanders – Daniel Defoe - 1722

The Monk - Matthew Gregory Lewis – 1792

The Mysteries of Udolpho – Mrs Radcliffe -1794
A Gothic novel. Read by Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey.

Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen – December 1817
Published by John Murray as a set with Persuasion – posthumously.

Pamela or Virtue Rewarded – Samuel Richardson – 1740
Often credited with being the first English novel. This is the tale of Pamela Andrews, a servant, whose mistress dies, consigning her to the care of her son. He plans her seduction, but, although in love with him, she wants to preserve her virtue. The book is a series of letters between Pamela and her parents. Her virtue is rewarded and her master marries her and she eventually wins over those in the neighbourhood who were against the unequal marriage.

Persuasion - Jane Austen - December 1817
Published by John Murray as a set with Northanger Abbey– posthumously.

Peveril of the Peak – Sir Walter Scott – 1822
A Waverley novel.

The Pirate – Sir Walter Scott -1822
A Waverley novel.

Popular Tales – Maria Edgeworth - 1804

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen - 28 January 1813
First published by Thomas Egerton

Quentin Durward – Sir Walter Scott – 1823
A Waverley novel.

Redgauntlet – Sir Walter Scott – 1825
A Waverley novel.

Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe -1719

Rob Roy – Sir Walter Scott – 1817
A Waverley novel.

The Romance of the Forest – Mrs Radcliffe – 1791
A Gothic novel. Enjoyed by Harriet Smith and recommended to her friend Mr. Martin in Emma.

Roxanda – Daniel Defoe - 1724

Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen - 30 October 1811
First published by Thomas Egerton

A Sicilian Romance – Mrs Radcliffe – 1790
A Gothic novel

St Ronan’s Well – Sir Walter Scott – 1824
A Waverley novel.

The Sylph - Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire (1788)

Tales from Fashionable Life – Maria Edgeworth - 1809/1812 (6 volumes) including The Absentee

The Talisman – Sir Walter Scott – 1825
A Waverley novel.

Tom Jones – Henry Fielding - 1749

Vicar of Wakefield - Oliver Goldsmith - 1766
Mentioned by Harriet in Jane Austen's Emma as having been read by Robert Martin.

The Wanderer or Female Difficulties – Fanny Burney – 1814

Waverley – Sir Walter Scott – 1814
First of the Waverley novels.

Woodstock – Sir Walter Scott – 1826

List compiled by Rachel Knowles