Self-Control: by Mary Brunton (Chawton House Library: Women's Novels)

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9781848934023: Self-Control: by Mary Brunton (Chawton House Library: Women's Novels)

When it appeared in spring 1811, Mary Brunton's first novel, Self-Control, was an overnight best-seller that surpassed both its author's modest expectations and its origins as a lady's genteel pastime. Self-Control combines complex psychological portraiture, religious didacticism and social comedy with a sensitive eye for regional description. While a religious novel, it blends both exciting incident and dramatic characterization with a sophisticated analysis of contemporary gender politics. Going into four editions within one year, the unexpected success of Self-Control can be seen in its popularity both in Edinburgh and London, with contemporaries like Jane Austen part of an eager readership clamouring to number themselves among its readers. Brunton's novel was such a success that an unauthorized edition was produced in America and it was also translated into French. This is the first scholarly edition of the novel and includes textual variants.

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It was on a still evening in June, that Laura Montreville left her father's cottage, in the little village of Glenalbert, to begin a solitary ramble. Her countenance was mournful, and her step languid; for her health had suffered from long confinement, and her spirits were exhausted by long attendance on the deathbed of her mother. That labour of duty had been lessened by no extrinsic circumstance; for Lady Harriet Montreville was a peevish and refractory patient; her disorder had been tedious as well as hopeless; and the humble establishment of a half-pay officer furnished no one who could lighten to Laura the burden of constant attendance. But Laura had in herself that which softens all difficulty, and beguiles all fatigue—an active mind, a strong sense of duty, and the habit of meeting and of overcoming adverse circumstances.

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Unlike some other reproductions of classic texts (1) We have not used OCR(Optical Character Recognition), as this leads to bad quality books with introduced typos. (2) In books where there are images such as portraits, maps, sketches etc We have endeavoured to keep the quality of these images, so they represent accurately the original artefact. Although occasionally there may be certain imperfections with these old texts, we feel they deserve to be made available for future generations to enjoy.

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