London: A. Millar, 1753. First edition. Recently bound to style in half morocco over marbled boards with red label to spine. New pastedowns but endpapers retained, the front bearing the blind-stamp of J.C. Morten. Collating complete including the scarce frontis, but out of order, with final leaf (pages 233-234) bound at front after the title: , 233-234, 1-232. Internally just about Fine, with only occasional light foxing to margins at front and rear, and surprisingly clean and fresh overall. The first edition of Jane Collier's book, it was the only version to be released in her lifetime.
"Perhaps the first extended non-fiction prose satire written by an English woman, Jane Collier’s An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting is a wickedly satirical send-up of eighteenth-century advice manuals and educational tracts. It takes the form of a mock advice manual in which the speaker instructs her readers in the arts of tormenting, offering advice on how to torment servants, humble companions and spouses, and on how to bring one’s children up to be a torment to others. The work’s satirical style, which focuses on the different kinds of power that individuals exercise over one another, follows in the footsteps of Jonathan Swift and paves the way for Jane Austen" (Bilger). For Collier, the art of tormenting is ultimately one of reclaiming authority in domestic spaces and relationships, reminding women that misogynistic commonplaces can be reversed into empowerment, and that anti-feminists should beware with what qualities they imbue women lest women use them to advantage.
ESTC T33351. (Item #3402)