The Wild Irish Girl, A National Tale. By Miss Owenson. Three volumes. London: Printed for Richard Phillips, 6 Bridge-street, Blackfriars, 1808. Fourth edition. pp. (1), [ii], xxxiv, 35-261, (2) [ii], 265, 11 (publisher’s list), (3) [ii], 264. Bound by J. Tate, Bookbinder, Belfast (with their rectangular engraved pink label on pastedowns) in contemporary full tree calf. Spines professionally rebacked, fore-edges gilt; all edges marbled. A very handsome set. Scarce.
COPAC locates 1 copy only of this edition. Loeber M552 lists the first and other editions but not the fourth.
Lady Morgan (1779?-1859), novelist, was born in Dublin, the daughter of Robert Owenson (born McOwen), an itinerant actor and manager of the Theatre and former steward to Sir John Browne of County Mayo. Her charming personality, self-confidence and gaiety won her a place in the literary and social life of Dublin. A visit to the Marquis of Abercorn, at Barons Court, County Tyrone in 1812, resulted in her marrying his physician, Sir Thomas Charles Morgan. Proudly nationalistic, to overcome the indifference to everything Irish by the English, and determined to combat the gross misrepresentation of her country, she decided to write and accomplished this in her first major novel. In 1806 ‘The Wild Irish Girl’ was published in London (no Dublin publisher could even consider this book, due to the political climate at that time), it was an overnight success, the one that made her famous, and established her reputation as a novelist.