Account of an Expedition to the Interior of New Holland. Lady Mary FOX.
Account of an Expedition to the Interior of New Holland.

Account of an Expedition to the Interior of New Holland.

London: Richard Bentley, 1837.

Small octavo; half-title discarded, no publisher's advertisements which appear in some copies; in full green morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.

Imaginary travels in the Australian inland

Rare Australian utopia and imaginary voyage: first edition of this fantastical tale chronicling an 1835 expedition from Bathurst to the interior, in which the exploring party comes across a group of English-speaking settlers, part of an utopian civilisation of three or four million, descendants of sixteenth-century refugees from the Reformation wars intermixed with whole tribes of Aborigines.

Rare Australian utopia and imaginary voyage: first edition of this fantastical tale chronicling an 1835 expedition from Bathurst to the interior, in which the exploring party comes across a group of English-speaking settlers, part of an utopian civilisation of three or four million, descendants of sixteenth-century refugees from the Reformation wars intermixed with whole tribes of Aborigines.
Raymond Howgego has carefully re-examined the attribution of this text. He points out that an early taste of the book appeared in Lady Fox's "Friendly Contributions for the Benefit of Three Schools" (1836); that it was developed into the book-length version by Lady Fox and others; that the traditional identification of Archbishop Whateley as a co-author is probably wrong; but that Whateley's wife Elizabeth may probably have had a hand in it.
Marcus Clarke thought it 'very entertainingly written, and in style and matter above the average of such compositions'; it was a success, requiring a third edition by 1860 and a modern reprint (in Claeys's Modern British Utopias, 1997).
Lady Mary Fox herself was a most interesting figure, one of 10 children of the duke of Clarence, later King William IV, by his mistress. She was close to royal circles, and was appointed housekeeper of Windsor Castle where she spent most of her life. Her largely liberal views (and/or those of her co-authors of course) are reflected throughout the novel: for instance, she condemns racism, and satirises the convict system in Australia: 'a new settlement with convicted criminals, - to form a new nation of the scum and refuse of mankind, - appeared to them so preposterous, that for some time they could not help supposing they must have misunderstood their informants'.

Claeys, I, p. xxvii & VII, passim; Ferguson, 2264; Howgego, 'Invented and Apocryphal Narratives of Travel', F18.

Price (AUD): $900.00  other currencies     Ref: #4107242

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