Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady (in 2 vols.)

London: H. Hughes for J. Walter, 1773.

A Bluestocking advises the rising generation of women to take charge of their own educations and pursue scripture, economy, geography, literature, and history

(Item #6001) Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady (in 2 vols.). Hester Chapone.

Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady (in 2 vols.)

London: H. Hughes for J. Walter, 1773. First Edition. Contemporary speckled calf rebacked to style with gilt and morocco labels to spines. Measuring 90 x 155mm and collating vi, [1], vii, 200; [2], 230: complete, including titles for both. A square, tight copy with a touch of rubbing to the boards. Some offsetting to both titles (more noticeably to vol II) and some staining to the lower corners of pages 225-230 of volume II not affecting text; else a clean, unfoxed copy. Scarce in trade, with only three other copies selling in the modern auction record aside from the present (2016, 1976, and 1960). Presently the only example on the market.

Initially released anonymously and in a small quantity, Letters on the Improvement of the Mind was written by famed Bluestocking Hester Chapone, whose name appeared in all later editions. Compiled in the volumes are Chapone's advice to her 15 year old niece, encouraging the girl's education across the fields of scripture, economy, geography, literature, and history. "Hitherto you have 'thought as a child and understood as a child,' but it is time to 'put childish things away.' You are now in your fifteenth year, and must soon act for yourself; therefore it is high time to store your mind with those principles which must direct your conduct and fix your character." Chapone explains that this best occurs when a young woman has an understanding of history and the world around her; and that this knowledge will improve her character by teaching her how to govern herself and navigate all situations public and private. For Chapone, the rise to womanhood is an emergence into independent selfhood. As an educational and conduct manual for young women, Letters became a sensation in its own time, with 28 new editions being rapidly released beginning that same year. An important, forward-thinking treatise on the education of young women.

ESTC T65784. Feminist Companion to Literature 195.
Near Fine (Item #6001)

Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady (in 2 vols.)
Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady (in 2 vols.)
Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady (in 2 vols.)
Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady (in 2 vols.)
Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady (in 2 vols.)
Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady (in 2 vols.)
Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady (in 2 vols.)
Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady (in 2 vols.)