Publisher: Oxford: Chez Alexandre le Vertueux, à Pierre de Touche, 1711.
Edition: Second edition in French, preceded by an edition in 1708, of The Secret History of Queen Zarah.
Bibliographical References: ESTC T36282; see "What if Delarivier Manley Did Not Write the Secret History of Queen Zarah?" by J. A. Downie, The Library, vol. 5, no. 3, 2004; and the ODND.
Condition: Edges a little rubbed; front hinge just starting, but sound; very good copy.
Book ID: 28681
Description12mo, contemporary mottled calf, red morocco spine label, floral gilt decorations in five compartments, gilt lettering.
CommentsA classic example of scandal fiction aimed at embarrassing the politically powerful, in this case the Marlboroughs, Francis Godolphin and the Whigs, with the insinuation that England was not being ruled by Queen Anne, but by Sarah Jennings, Duchess of Marlborough (Downie). Though written anonymously, which it remained through numerous editions in English and French, it was attributed to Delarivier Manley (1670-1724), who became famous for mastering this genre of prose fiction. In the ODNB, Ros Ballaster writes that The Secret History of Queen Zarah “is typical of the prose fiction in which she was to become adept, providing an accurate if scandalous account of whig political machination. In all her fiction, but especially in this first work, John and Sarah Churchill are major targets, their dominance over Queen Anne a source of anxiety and rancour for the tory ideals and ambitions of Manley.” R. A. Downie in his article noted above makes a convincing case that the Manley attribution is incorrect. The Oxford imprint is false (this edition was certainly printed on the Continent), as is the implausible suggestion in the introduction to this edition that it may have been written by Henry Sacheverell. Early ink annotations and signatures on the front free endpaper and title-page. All the editions, in English and French, are rare.