A Biographical Sketch of the Most Distinguished Writers of Ancient and Modern Times. Intended for the Use of Schools and private Education

(Item #3543) A Biographical Sketch of the Most Distinguished Writers of Ancient and Modern Times. Intended for the Use of Schools and private Education. Frances Arabella Rowden.
A Biographical Sketch of the Most Distinguished Writers of Ancient and Modern Times. Intended for the Use of Schools and private Education
A Biographical Sketch of the Most Distinguished Writers of Ancient and Modern Times. Intended for the Use of Schools and private Education
A Biographical Sketch of the Most Distinguished Writers of Ancient and Modern Times. Intended for the Use of Schools and private Education
A Biographical Sketch of the Most Distinguished Writers of Ancient and Modern Times. Intended for the Use of Schools and private Education
A Biographical Sketch of the Most Distinguished Writers of Ancient and Modern Times. Intended for the Use of Schools and private Education
A Biographical Sketch of the Most Distinguished Writers of Ancient and Modern Times. Intended for the Use of Schools and private Education
A Biographical Sketch of the Most Distinguished Writers of Ancient and Modern Times. Intended for the Use of Schools and private Education
Drawing on her experience as governess and tutor to elite young women, Rowden creates an elementary volume to attract students to her new school
A Biographical Sketch of the Most Distinguished Writers of Ancient and Modern Times. Intended for the Use of Schools and private Education

London: Longman & Co, 1820. First edition. Contemporary half roan over marbled boards. Extremities rubbed and joints cracking but holding firm. Light scattered foxing to preliminary and terminal contents, with majority of textblock unmarked and clean. Faint ownership signature in pencil of Miss Fartham to front endpaper. Early pen corrections to pages 35, 81, 149, 166. Measuring approximately 110 x 180mm and collating [10], xiv, 180: complete, including engraved frontis, title, note to parents, dedication, and subscribers. A scarce little volume designed to assist in girls' educations, OCLC records 6 copies (1 of those in the US); and the present is the only copy on the market.

This slender volume was designed for the use of schools and governesses, and Rowden drew on her own experiences educating girls in both spaces. The daughter of an educated clergyman, she served as the governess to the family of Lord Bessborough, was the private tutor to Mary Russell Mitford, and taught at St. Quintan's School where her students included Lady Caroline Lamb and Letitia Elizabeth Landon (later known as the poet L.E.L.). An insert to this text addresses "To the Parents and Guardians" announces further that "Mrs. Rowden has formed an establishment in Paris, where the elegant accomplishments are combined with every useful attainment."

A Biographical Sketch provided "young scholars," in compact form, "with a general idea of the rise and progress of classical learning, and the connexion between ancient and modern literature." Knowing the past is the key to understanding the present and shaping the future; and so Rowden urges her young readers to familiarize themselves seriously with books across those boundaries. Short biographies are arranged in sections ancient and modern, and within those sections by nation (Greece and Rome; England, France, Germany, Spain and Portugal). Following the biographies, Rowden provides a Reflection on how the writers' works tie together thematically, or how the authors have influenced each other. Progressive in some senses -- particularly the inclusion of non-English literatures -- Rowden's compilation reflects a conservatism necessary to court the type of subscribers and clients she needs. To this end, classical, English, and French works are praised above all others for their level of advanced skill, while authors from countries like Spain are described as "little known across Europe." Additionally, despite educating girls and including a majority of women among her subscribers, not a single female writer appears within the pages. A telling reminder that not all female educators were overtly promoting intellectual equality to the girls in their charge.
(Item #3543)

Price: $950