Mary Davys (1674-1731)


Life
[vars. 1670; 1674]; b. Dublin, m. Rev. Peter Davys (d.1698), Head of St Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar School, Dublin; friend and correspondent of Swift; and moved to York on her husband’s death, 1698; wrote The Merry Wanderer, an account of her travels in England and Wales, illustrating contemporary opinions of the Irish; wrote The Northern Heiress, or Humours of York (April 1716, Lincoln Inns Field Th.), a social comedy; moved to Cambridge and opened a coffee house;
 
issued Familiar Letters Betwixt A Gentleman and A Lady (1725) consists of 22 letters exchanged between Berina and Artlander, denouncing folly and debating Tory versus Whig politics, exchanging news and other opinions; The Works of Mrs. Davys (1725), issued by subscription in 2 vols., contain many short works otherwise unprinted incl. a play, The Self-Rival; afterwards issued A False Friend, or The Treacherous Portuguese (1732), based on a work of William Harlin McBurney. RR ODNB PI ATT

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Works
Original
  • [as anon.,] The Fugitive: Containing Several Very Pleasant Passages Observ’d by a Lady in Her Country Ramble (London 1705);
  • The Northern Heiress: or, Humours of York, A Comedy, as it was acted at the New Theatre in Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields (London: H. Meere [for others] 1716) [details], and Do. [digital facs.] (Michigan: Thomson Gale 2003);
  • The Reform’d Coquet: A Novel by Mrs. Davys (London: H. Woodfall MDCCXIV [1724]), xvi, 171pp.; Do. [new edns.] (4th edn., corr. 1736; another edn. 1752; another edn. 1760) [details].
  • The Works of Mary Davys, Consisting of Plays, Novels, Poems, and Familiar Letters, Several of which never before publish’d (London: H. Woodfall 1725), and Do. [rep. edn.], ed. Robert A. Day (NY: Kraus 1955, 1967) [details];
  • [anon.,] The Accomplish’d Rake: or, modern fine gentleman, Being an Exact Description of the Conduct and Behaviour of a Person of Distinction (London 1727, 1756), [details];
  • The False Friend; or, The Treacherous Portugueze - A novel Interspersed with the adventures of Lorenzo and Elvira, Carlos and Leonora, Octavio and Clara; written by a lady (London : printed for T. Astley, 1732), [12], 136p., 12°.
 
Rep. collections
  • The Accomplish’d Rake: or, modern fine gentleman, in Four before Richardson: Selected English Novels, 1720-1727 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1963), xxxv, 373pp. [with “Luck At Last, or The Happy Unfortunate”, by A. Blackamore; “The Jamaica Lady, or The Life of Bavia”, by W.P.; “Philidore and Placentia, or L’amour trop délicat”, by E. Haywood]
  • Josephine Grieder, ed. & intro., The Reform’d Coquet [and] Familiar Letters Betwixt A Gentleman and A Lady, by Mary Davys [with The Mercenary Lover by Eliza Haywood] (NY & London: Garland 1973) [details].
  • Martha F. Bowden, ed., The Reform’d Coquet, or, Memoirs of Amoranda; Familiar Letters Betwixt a Gentleman and a Lady; The Accomplish’d Rake; or, Modern Fine Gentleman [Eighteenth-century novels by women ser.] (Kentucky UP 1999), xlviii, 253pp. [Bibl. p.251.]
 
See also “The Merry Wanderer” [extract], in The Literature of the Irish in Britain: Autobiography and Memoir, 1725-2001, ed. Liam Harte (London: Palgrave Macmillan 2009) [q.pp.]
 
Note: she is the earliest author selected in Liam Harte, ed., The Literature of the Irish in Britain: Autobiography and Memoir, 1725-2001 (London: Palgrave Macmillan 2009) [see reviewed by Fintan O’Toole in The Irish Times, 25 April 2009, Weekend].

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Bibliographical details
The Accomplish’d Rake: or, modern fine gentleman, being an exact description of the conduct and behaviour of a person of distinction ([London]: Printed in the year MDCCXXVII [1727]and sold by the booksellers of London and Westminster), vi, [2], 196p., 12° [ESTC N014929]; Do. [2nd edn., as] The Accomplish’d Rake: or, the modern fine gentleman. Being the genuine memoirs of a certain person of distinction (London: printed for A. Stephens; F. Noble; W. Bathoe; and J. Noble, 1756), [6], 255, [1]pp., 12° [ded. signed Mary Davys; ESTC T119331].

The Reform’d Coquet: A Novel by Mrs. Davys, author of The Humours of York (London: printed by H. Woodfall, for the author; and sold by J. Stephens, at the Bible in Butcher-Row, near St. Clement’s Church, M.DCC.XXIV. [1724]), xvi, 171, [1]pp., 12° [ded. signed Mary Davys], Do. [another edn. as] The reform’d coquet; or, Memoirs of Amoranda - A Novel by Mrs. Davys, author of The Humours of York [5th Edn.] (London : printed for A. Stephens 1744), [2], x, 154, [2]pp., 12°; Do. [digital facs. in ] (Woodbridge, CT: Research Publications Inc. 1986) [Eighteenth Century, Reel 5770, no. 08]; fourth edn. [corr.] (London: printed by T. Forbes, for J. Stephens, 1736), vi, [2], 147,[1]p., 8°. [ESTC N022162]; Do. [5th edn. (London: printed for A. Stephens, at the Bible, in Butcher-Row, without Temple-Bar, MDCCXLIV [1744]), [2], x, 154, [2]pp. [ESTC N22163]; Do. [edn.] (London: A. Stephens 1752), 154pp.; Do. [7th edn.] (London: printed for W. Cater, M. Cooper and G. Woodfall 1760), x, [2], 154p., 12°. Also published in Dublin as The Reform’d Coquet: or, Memoirs of Amoranda, A Surprising Novel (Dublin: printed by M. Rhames, for R. Gunne, Bookseller in Capel St. 1735), v, [3], 99, [1]p., 12°, and Do. [facs. rep.] in The Eighteenth Century, Reel 5770, No. 07 [35mm. microfilm; ESTC T008503]; another edn. (Dublin: printed for John Murphy and Benjamin Gunne 1763), 99,[1]p., 12° [ESTC T168793]. Note: see also The Reformed Coquette, or, a Fluttering Heart Caught at Last, in Paul and Virginia by Bernardin de Saint Pierre [1787] (1850), pp.133-249.

The Works of Mrs Davys: Consisting of Plays, Novels, Poems, and Familiar Letters, several of which never before publish'd, In two volumes (London: Printed by H. Woodfall at Elzevir's-Head without Temple-Bar for the author, M.DCC.XXV. [1725]), 8°. CONTENTS: Vol. 1: I. The Self-Rival, A Comedy; II. The Northern Heiress; or Humours of York, A Comedy[pp.73-157]; III. The Merry Wanderer; IV. The Modern Poet. [Query Contents of Vol. 2.]

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Familiar Letters Betwixt a Gentleman and a Lady, ed. & intro. by Robert A. Day, with a bibliography of epistolary fiction, 1660-1740 ([Augustan Reprint Soc., 54] (NY: Kraus Reprint 1967), iv, 10 [Bibl.], 265-308pp. [rep. from of 1955 edition of works issued by William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California at Los Angeles, 1955 - itself repro. from volume in Houghton Library, Harvard U.] See also .

The Northern Heiress: or, Humours of York, A Comedy, as it was acted at the New Theatre in Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields (London: Printed by H. Meere, for A. Bettesworth in Pater-Noster-Row, and J. Browne and W. Mears both without Temple-Bar, 1716), [8], 9-72pp., 12° [front. ill. by Edward Kirkall showing ladies and a gentleman at table; York Minster edn. has signature of Robt. Davies on front flyleaf].

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References
Peter Kavanagh, Irish Theatre (Tralee 1946), gives bio-details: fl.1756; a friend of Swift; The Northern Heiress or the Humours of York (Lincoln Inns Field, April 1716) [pub. 1725], here described as more a comedy of intrigue than of manners, with some sharp wit; and The Self Rival (1725), unacted.

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Notes
W. J. McCormack, ed., Maria Edgeworth, The Absentee (OUP 1988), cites Davys (p.xxxvi, ftn.)

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