Frances Sheridan (1724-66)


Life
b. Dublin, dg. of Rev. Dr. Philip Chamberlaine, a Church of Ireland clergyman who disbelieved in women’s emancipation; she was taught to write secretly by brother Walter; wrote her novel Eugenie and Adelaide at 15, posthumously published and later adapted for Dublin stage by her dg. Alicia; issued “The Owls; a Fable”, a poem defending Thomas Sheridan in the “Cato riots” arising from his management of Smock Alley, 1745; m. Sheridan, 1747, with whom five children;
 
lived at 12 Dorset St., with five children among whom were R. B. Sheridan (b. 1751), Alice Le Fanu (b. 1753), and Betsy Sheridan (q.d.); issued The Memoirs of Miss Sidney Biddulph (1761), a novel in the ‘cult of distress’ tradition, to which a Conclusion was posthumously added in 1767 with editions to 1813, &c.; her play The Discovery (1762), dealing with the theme of a ‘reformed rake’, was successful produced by David Garrick at Drury Lane and later revived in 1776, 1779, 1780, 1782-3, and 1806;
 
issued The Dupe (1762; publ. 1764), which failed on the stage due to adverse critical reactions to the coarse language given to Sir John Woodall - a rake who compares his discomfort at telling the truth to ‘tearing off ten thousand blisters’; printed by Millar and sold hotly, producing a cheque of £100; moved to Blois to escape creditors, and there wrote the ‘conclusion’ to Miss Sidney Bidulph, and also A Journey to Bath (orig. called ‘A Trip to Bath’);
 
the play rejected by Garrick, but influenced her son R. B. Sheridan’s phenomenally successful play The Rivals, supplying the model for Mrs Malaprop in Mrs Tryfort [var. Tryon]; d. at Blois, where her parents were sheltering from creditors; The History of Nourjahad (1767), an oriental tale taken [trans.] from from Nourjahad et Chérédin by Louis-Charles Caigniez, was published posthumously and trans. into Russian and Polish; Eugenie and Adelaide was later adapted by her dg. Alicia while Aldous Huxley modernised The Discovery for the modern stage in 1924. RR CAB ODNB PI DIB DIW DIL FDA OCIL

[ top ]

Works
Fiction
Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph ...
  • Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph, extracted from her own Journal, and Now First Published [var. 3 vols.] (London: London: R. & J. Dodsley; Dublin: G. Faulkner 1761);
  • Conclusion of the memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph, as prepared for the press by the late editor of the former part. ... Vols. 3 & 4 (Dublin: printed for G. Faulkner, in Parliament-Street MDCCLXVII [1767]), 12°;
  • Conclusion of the memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph, as prepared for the press by the late editor of the former part. ... 2 vols. - IV & [V] ( London : printed for J. Dodsley, in Pall-Mall, MDCCLXX [1770]), 12°; Do. [5th edn.], Vol. 5 ( London: printed for J. Dodsley 1796), 5, [2], 327, [1]pp., 12°;
  • Do., extracted from her own journal by Mrs Sheridan [4th edn.] (Dublin: Chamberlaine 1782), 2 vols., 12°. [TCD Lib.];
  • The History of Nourjahad / by the editor of Sidney Bidulph (London: printed for J. Dodsley in Pall-Mall, MDCCLXVII [1767]), [4], 240pp., 12°; The History of Nourjahad / by the editor of Sidney Bidulph (Dublin: Printed for P. Wilson [et al.], 1767), 222pp., 18cm.
  • The History of Nourjahad / by Mrs. Sheridan (London: Printed for Harrison and Co. No. 18, Paternoster Row, MDCCLXXXVIII [1788]), 38pp., ill. [1 lf. of pls;], 20cm. [also issued as part of: The novelist's magazine, vol. 23, London, 1780-88]
  • The history of Nourjahad: By the editor of Sidney Bidulph [A new edition] (London: printed for J. Dodsley, M.DCC.XCII. [1792]), 239, [1]pp., 12°.
  • The history of Nourjahad: The Persian. By Mrs Sheridan [...] embellished with superior engravings [Cooke's Edition] (London: printed for C. Cooke, and sold by all the booksellers in Great Britain and Ireland, [1798]), 72pp., ill. [pl. dated 1798; copy in BL];
  • The History of Nourjahad / By Mrs. Sheridan, ... To which for the first time is prefixed, a genuine account of the author (Dublin: John Parry 1802), xiv, 218pp., 16cm./12°.
  • The History of Nourjahad, the Persian ... A new edition (Cork: Edward Henry Morgan 1803), 74pp., 12º/15cm.
  • The History of Nourjahad, in Henry William Weser, Tales of the East, &c., Vol. 2 (1812), 8°.
  • Do., as The History of Nourjahad / by the editor of Sidney Bidulph (London: Elkin Mathews & Marrot Ltd. 1927), ix, 11-120pp., ill. [4 col. pls. by Mabel R. Peacock], 23cm.
  • Eugenia and Adelaide: A Novel, 2 vols. (London: C. Dilly 1791), 12° [posthumously adapted for the stage by Alicia Le Fanu]
[ top ]
Drama
  • Do. [another edn.] (Dublin: printed for W. Smith, sen. H. Saunders, W. Sleater, W. Whitestone, Eliz. Watts, T. Dyton, and J. Mitchel ..., 1763), [4], 90, [2]pp., 12°/16cm.
  • The Discovery: A Comedy As it Is Performed at the Theatre Royal, in Drury-Lane, written by the editor of Miss Sidney Bidulph (London: Printed for T. Davies [et al.] 1763), [4], 139, [1]pp., 20cm.;
  • Do. [2nd edn.] (London: printed for T. Davies; R. and J. Dodsley; G. Kearsly; J. Coote; and J. Walter, MDCCLXIII [1763]), 8, 94, [2]pp, 21cm.; Do. [another edn.?] (Edinburgh: printed for R. Fleming 1763), [8], 94, [2]pp., 8° [V&A Libs.];
  • The Discovery: A Comedy. As it is performed at the Theatres-Royal in Drury-Lane and Crow-Street. Written by the editor of Miss Sidney Bidulph [Mrs. Sheridan] (Dublin: printed by G. Faulkner, MDCCLXIII [1763]), [6], 88, [2]pp., 12° [copy in TCD Lib. BL, Glasgow UL, &c.];
  • Do., As it is performed at the Theatre-Royal, in Drury-Lane / written by the editor of Miss Sidney Bidulph [2nd edn.] (London: Printed for T. Davies, in Russel-Street, Covent-Garden; R. and J. Dodsley, in Pall-Mall; G. Kearsley, in Ludgate-Street; J. Coote, in Pater-noster-Row; and J. Walter, at Charing-Cross, MDCCLXIII [1763]), [iv], 139, [1]pp.;
  • The Discovery: A Comedy. As it is performed at the Theatres-Royal in London and Dublin. Written by Mrs. Sheridan (Dublin: printed for W. Smith, sen. H. Saunders, W. Sleater, W. Whitestone, Eliz. Watts , T. Dyton, and J. Mitchel, booksellers, MDCCLXIII [1763]), [4], 90, [2]pp., ill. [pl.], 12°.
  • The Discovery: A Comedy by Mrs. Frances Sheridan; Adapted for theatrical representation, as performed at the Theatres-Royal, Drury-Lane and Covent-Garden. Regulated fom the prompt-books, by permission of the managers [Bell's British Theatre, Vol. 5] (London: printed for the proprietors, under the direction of John Bell ... [MDCCXCII] 1792), v, [6]-135, [1]pp., ill. [1 pl.]; 15cm/12°.
  • The Dupe: A Comedy / As it is now acting at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, by His Majesty's servants. By the author of The Discovery (London: A. Millar, in the Strand, MDCCLXIV [1764]), [8], 68, [2]pp., 21cm. [8°].
  • The Dupe, a comedy. As it is now acting at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane / By His Majesty's servants. By the author of The discovery ( Dublin: : Printed for G. and A. Ewing, Wil. Smith and Son, Peter Wilson, John Exshaw, Tim. Dyton, Mat. Williamson, Sam. Price, Eliz. Watts, Hen. Saunders, Jam. Potts, John Mitchell, and Jam. Williams, MDCC.LXIV. [ 1764]), [2], 74, [2]pp., 12°.
[ top ]
In compendia.
  • The Mirror: A Collection of Six Tales from the Caxton Press (Liverpool: Nuttall, Fisher, and Dixon, 1814) - CONTENTS: The History of Rasselas, by Dr Johnson; Zadig, translated from the Frenchy of M. de Voltaire; Solyman and Almena: An Oriental Tale, by Dr Langhorne; The History of Nourjahad, the Persian, by Mrs Sheridan; Almoran and Hamet: an oriental tale, by John Hawkesworth; A sentimental journey through France & Italy, by Mr Yorick [i.e. Laurence Sterne]. With separate titlepages; reg. and pag. continuous.
  • The History of Nourjahad / by Mrs F. Sheridan; Almoran and Hamet / by Dr. Hawkesworth: with a biographical preface. (London: printed for J. Walker, J. Richardson, F. C. and J. Rivington, R. Lea, J. Nunn, Newman & Co., Lackington, Allen, and Co., Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, Cadell and Davies, Black and Parry, Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, Cradock and Joy, J. Asperne, Gale, Curtis, and Fenner, and J. Robinson. 1814), xi, 190pp., ill. [front.], 12°/16cm. [printed in Weybridge];.
  • Almoran and Hamet, by Dr. Hawkesworth; Solyman and Almena, by Dr. Langhorne; Nourjahad, the Persian, by Mrs. Sheridan, and Belisarius, by Marmontel [Novel newspaper. Vol. 14, No. 264-73 (London: N. Bruce, ... sold by all booksellers, 1843), [var. pag.]; 22cm.
  • Three Oriental Tales: complete texts with introduction, historical contexts, critical essays, ed. by Alan Richardson. [New Riverside Editions] (Boston: Houghton Mifflin [2002]), viii, 328pp - CONTENTS: The history of Nourjahad by Frances Sheridan; Vathekby William Beckford; The Giaour by Lord Byron. Bibliographical references (pp.323-27)
Adaptations
  • Illusion; or, The Trances of Nourjahad: An Oriental Romance, in three acts / founded on a Persian tale, written by Mrs. Sheridan. As now performed at the Theatre-Royal, Drury-Lane. The music composed and selected by Mr. Kelly [Dramatic Repository] (London: Printed and published by J. Barker, Great Russell-Street, Covent-Garden, 1813), vii, [1], 39, [1]pp., 23cm. [libretto only, attrib. to S[amuel] J[ames] Arnold; with orig. cast list];
  • Court and City: A Comedy in five acts [and in prose]. Adapted from scenes in Sir R. Steele's “Tender Husband” and Mrs. F. Sheridan's “Discovery” [Cumberland's British Theatre, Vol. 42] (1829).
  • The Discovery: A Comedy in five acts written by Mrs. Francis Sheridan, adapted for the modern stage by Aldous Huxley (London: Chatto & Windus 1924), vii, 121pp.
Translations
  • Louis-Sébastien Mercier, L'habitant de la Guadeloupe: comédie en trois actes [Nouvelle édition corrigée (A Neuchatel: De l'imprimerie de la Société typographique, 1786), 72pp., 20cm. [Based on Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph, by Mrs. Sheridan].  
[ top ]
Miscellaneous
  • Alamanno Morelli e l'arte sua (Mortara: P. Botto 1879), vii, 97pp. [8°].  
Collected Works
  • Robert Hogan & Jerry C. Beasley, eds., The Plays of Frances Sheridan (Newark: Delaware UP; NJ: Associated UP 1984), 209pp. [Introduction; “The Discovery”; “The Dupe”; “A Journey to Bath”; and appendices with rejected prologues by James Boswell.]
Reprints
  • W. Fraser Rae, ed., Sheridan's Plays now printed as he wrote them, and his Mother's unpublished comedy “A Journey to Bath”, intro. by Lord Dufferin (London: David Nutt 1902), xxxx, 318pp., 8°;
  • The History of Nourjahad [rep. edn.] (London: Elkin Mathews & Marrot 1927), ix, 120pp., 4 col. ills. by Mabel Peacock; Patricia Köster and Jean Coates Cleary, eds.,
  • Memoirs of Miss Sidney Biddulph [by] Frances Sheridan, ed. by Patricia Köster & Jean Coates Cleary [World’s Classics Ser.] (Oxford: OUP 1995, 1999), xxxix, 478pp., 19cm.
  • “History of Nourjahad”, in Three Oriental Tales, ed. Alan Richardson [New Riverside Editions] (NY: Houghton Mifflin 2002), pp.23-78. [with William Beckford’s Vathek and Byron’s The Giaour].
  • Dorando [1767], [by] James Boswell; The history of Nourjahad [1767], [by] Frances Sheridan [The Flowering of the Novel - The Novel in England, 1700-75; facs. rep.] (NY: Garland Publ. 1974), 1 vol.

[ top ]

Criticism
  • Alicia Le Fanu, Memoirs of the life and writings of Mrs. Frances Sheridan: mother of the late Right Hon. Richard Brinsley Sheridan; with remarks upon a late life of the Right Hon. R. B. Sheridan; also criticisms and selections from the works of Mrs Sheridan and biographical anecdotes of her family and contemporaries / by her grand-daughter, Alicia Lefanu (London: Printed for G. and W.B. Whittaker, 1824), xi, 435pp., ill. [1 lf. of pls., front. port.; 24cm.];
  • B. G. MacCarthy, ‘The Oriental Novel’ in The Female Pen, Women Writers and Novelists 1621-1818 (Cambridge UP 1994) [Chap. IX. where she is discussed with others];
  • Richard Ryan, Biographia Hibernica: Irish Worthies (1821), Vol. II, p.502;
  • Arnott, British Theatrical Literature (1970);
  • Elizabeth Kuti, ‘Rewriting Frances Sheridan’, in Eighteenth-Century Ireland, Vol. 11 (1995), pp.120-28.

[ top ]

Commentary
Percy Fitzgerald, Lives of the Sheridans, Vol. 1 (1886): ‘Mrs Sheridan passed [at Quilca] some of the happiest hours of her life, we are told in the Life which has been written by her granddaughter Mrs Le Fanu, of Dublin.’ (p.[27].)

G. C. Duggan, The Stage Irishman (1937): ‘Sheridan derived hints for the play from his mother’s A Trip [sic] to Bath (see R. Crompton Rhodes, in Harlequin Sheridan; n.d. given), Sir Lucius’s remark about the family pictures (“Though the mansionhouse and dirty acres have slipped through my fingers, I thank heaven our honour and the family pictures are as fresh as ever”) drawn from a less sprightly remark by Sir Jonathan Bull in her play.’

[ top ]

Esther K. Sheldon, Thomas Sheridan of Smock Alley (NJ: Princeton UP 1967) writes that Frances Sheridan is the prob. author of letters in Dublin in An Uproar (ftn., p.101.)

Robert L. Mack, ed., Oriental Tale (Oxford/NY: OUP 1992): Introduction, describes Nourjahad in The History of Nourjahad as ‘a kind of Faustian figure’ who ‘possesses a lush physicality - a delight in the voluptuous descriptions of sensuous excess, placing the novel in a genre that is able to ‘present readers with a range of alternative cultural possibilities’ (quoted in Paul Murray, ‘Lafcadio Hearn and the Irish Tradition’, in Irish Studies Review, 15, Summer 1996, pp.2-9, p.9 - citing Mack pp.xxx-xlvii.) Also remarks that Nourjahad’s ‘misplaced desire for immortality, too, recalls Gulliver’s account of the Struldbrugs in Swift’s Gullivers Travels’ (p.xxxiii; quoted in Murray, paper on Lafcadio Hearn, in That Other World: The Supernatural and the Fantastic in Irish Literature: Transactions of the Princess Grace Irish Library Conference, Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1998.)

[ top ]

Quotations
History of Nourjahad (1767; 1992 Edn.)
‘Schemzeddin was in his two and twentieth year when he mounted the throne of Persia. His great wisdom and extraordinary endowments rendered him the delight of his people, and filled them with expectations of a glorious and happy reign. Amongst the number of persons who stood candidates for the young sultan’s favour, in the new administration, which was now going to take place, none seemed so likely to succeed, as Nourjahad the son of Namarand. This young man was about the age of Schemzeddin, and had been bred up with him from his infancy. To a very engaging person was added a sweetness of temper, a liveliness of fancy, and a certain agreeable manner of address, that engaged every one's affections who approached him. The sultan loved him, and every one looked on Nourjahad as the rising star of the Persian court, whom his master's partial fondness would elevate to the highest pinnacle of honour. Schernzeddin indeed was desirous of promoting his favourite, yet notwithstanding his attachment to him, he was not blind to his faults; but they appeared to him only such as are almost inseparable from youth and inexperience; and he made no doubt but that Nourjahad, when time had a little more subdued his youthful passions, and matured his judgment, would be able to fill the place of his first minister, with abilities equal to any of his predecessors. He would not, however, even in his own private thoughts, resolve on so important a step, without first consulting with some old lords of his court, who had been the constant friends and counsellors of the late sultan his father. Accordingly having called them into his closet one day, he proposed the matter to them, and desired their opinion. But before they delivered it, he could easily discover by the countenances of these grave and prudent men, that they disapproved his choice. What have you to object to Nourjahad? said the sultan, finding that they all continued silent, looking at each other. His youth, replied the eldest of the counsellors. That objection, answered Schemzeddin, will grow lighter every day. His avarice, cried the second. Thou art not just, said the Sultan […;’ p.23].
 
Nourjahad awakes to find a ‘celestial visitant’ and an ‘immortal spirit’ in his chamber, who says: ‘Rash mortal, replied the shining vision, reflect once more, before you receive the fatal boon; for once granted, you will wish perhaps, and wish in vain, to have it recalled. What have I to fear, answered Nourjahad, possessed of endless riches and of immortality? Your own passions, said the heavenly youth. I will submit to all the evils arising from them, replied Nourjahad, give me but the power of gratifying them in their full extent. Take thy wish then, cried the genius, with a look of discontent. The contents of this viol [phial] will confer immortality on thee, and to-morrow's sun shall behold thee richer than all the kings of the East. Nourjahad stretched his hands out eagerly to receive a vessel of gold, enriched with precious stones, which the angel took from under his mantle. Stop, cried the aerial being, and hear the condition, with which thou must accept the wondrous gift I am now about to bestow. Know then, that your existence here shall equal the date of this sublunary globe, yet to enjoy life all that while, is not in my power to grant. Nourjahad was going to interrupt the celestial, to desire him to explain this, when he prevented him, by proceeding thus: Your life, said he, will be frequently interrupted by the temporary death of sleep. Doubtless, replied Nourjahad, nature would languish without that sovereign balm. Thou misunderstandest me, cried the genius; I do not mean that ordinary repose which nature requires: The sleep thou must be subject to, at certain periods, will last for months, years, nay, for a whole revolution of Saturn at a time, or perhaps for a century. Frightful! cried Nourjahad, with an emotion that made him forget the respect which was due to the presence of his guardian angel. He seemed suspended, while the radiant youth proceeded; It is worth considering, resolve not too hastily.’ (p.27.)
 
The young sultan explains: ‘See, Nourjahad, of what the heart of man is capable, when he shuts his eyes against the precepts of our holy prophet. Thou stoodst as it were alone in the creation, and self-dependent for thy own happiness or misery, thou lookedst not for rewards or punishments in that invisible world, from which thou thoughtest thyself by thy own voluntary act excluded. […] I was now resolved to be myself an eye-witness of thy behaviour, and to try if there was any spark of virtue remaining in thy soul which could possibly be rekindled.
 I disguised myself in the habit of a slave; and having altered my face, and my voice, I presented myself to thee under the name of Cozro. Thou knowest what passed between us on thy first awaking from thy compelled slumbers, and that I heard and saw with what indifference thou receivedst the news of my supposed death. But I will not reproach thee with ingratitude let the memory of that be buried with the rest of thy errors.
 I had soon the satisfaction to find that thou wast as it were a new man. The natural goodness of thy disposition, thy reason, thy experience of the deceitfulness of worldly enjoyments, joined to the remorse which thou couldst not help feeling, for a series of vice and folly, at length rouzed thee to a just sense of what thou owedst to the dignity of thy own nature, and to the duties incumbent on thee towards the rest of thy fellow- creatures.
  I now discovered, with joy, that thou hadst intirely divested thyself of that insatiable love of pleasure, to which thou hadst before addicted thyself, and that thou no longer didst regard wealth, but as it enabled thee to do good. There was but one trial more remained. If, said I, his repentance be sincere, and he has that heroism of mind which is inseparable from the truly virtuous, he will not shrink at death; but, on the contrary, will look upon it as the only means bywhich he can obtain those refined enjoyments suited to the divine part of his nature, and which are as much superior in their essence, as they are in their duration to all the pleasures of sense.
 I made the trial - The glorious victory, Oh Nourjahad, is thine! By thy contempt of riches, thou hast proved how well thou deservedst them; and thy readiness to die, shews how fit thou art to live. […] (p.78.)
 
Let this dream of existence be a lesson to thee in future, never to suppose that riches can ensure happiness; that the gratification of our passions can satisfy the human heart; or that the immortal part of our nature, will suffer us to taste unmixed felicity, in a world which was never meant for our final place of abode. Take thy amiable Mandana to thee for a wife and received the fixed confidence and love of Schemzeddin. […].’ (pp.77-78; End.) [A similar quotation is given in the Norton Anthology online.]
 

[ top ]

References
Dictionary of National Biography: m. Thomas Sheridan, 1747; published Memoirs of Miss Sidney Biddulph (1761, 1767), and The History of Nourjahad, posthumously (1767); The Discovery produced successfully by Garrick (Drury Lane 1763).

D. J. O’Donoghue, The Poets of Ireland: A Biographical Dictionary (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co 1912); b.1714 [err, as birth date of RBS at 1751 must show].

Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), lists Sidney Bidulph.

[ top ]

Peter Kavanagh, Irish Theatre (1946), Mrs. Francis Sheridan 1724-67; Minor drama, The Discovery (DL 3 Feb 1763) 1763; The Dupe (DL 10 Dec 1763) 1764; the former a moral and sentimental play, made pop. by the acting of Garrick as Sir Anthony Branville; altered and produced by Aldous Huxley at RADA London, 4 May 1924. The Dupe was condemned for indelicacy by a fastidious contemporary (ladies’) audience.

[ top ]

Robert Hogan, ed., Dictionary of Irish Literature (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1979), Sheridan considered ‘agreeable companion to an intellectual man’ by Boswell; Memoirs of Miss Sidney Biddulph, 2 vols. (1761, 1767), published anonymously while living at Windsor, ded. Samuel Richardson and written in his manner, praised by Johnson and trans. into French and German; The Discovery (1762; rev. 1775, 1777), produced by Garrick who thought it the best comedy he had ever read; in no sense Irish, sentimental comedy with stock chars. and predictable plot, lit by flashes of comic genus and chars. like Lord Medway, Sir Anthony Branville, and Lord and Lady Flutter anticipating creations of R. B. Sheridan; adapted for modern stage by Aldous Huxley [1924]. Lists works: The Discovery (London 1763), and a modern stage version, Aldous Huxley (London: Chatto & Windus 1924); The Dupe (London 1764); Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph, 2 vols. (Dublin: G Faulkner 1761); The History of Nourjahad (London: J Dodsley 1767).

[ top ]

A. N. Jeffares & Peter Van de Kamp, eds., Irish Literature: The Eighteenth Century - An Annotated Anthology (Dublin/Oregon: Irish Academic Press 2006), select extract from Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph [217]; also extract from a letter dated 29 November 1762 about her comedy The Discovery (1763) [226].

[ top ]

COPAC [near inclusive list from that source - omitted only some translations and compendia: 1] Conclusion of the memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph […] (London: Printed for J. Dodsley 1770) [Glasgow Main Lib. Spec. Coll.] 2] Conclusion of the Memoirs … as prepared for the press by the late editor of the former part. Volume III[-IV] (Dublin: printed for G. Faulkner 1767) [first printed London 1767; notes: completing Faulkner's 1761 edn. of vols. 1 & 2; woodcut tailpieces suggest that Faulkner printed vol. 3 and S. Powell vol. 4; TCD Lib. OLS B-2-611]. 3] The discovery / Sheridan, Frances, 1724-1766 (London 1763), 139pp [+1]pp.; andother edn. (Dublin); The discovery: A comedy / By Mrs. Frances Sheridan. Adapted for theatrical representation, as performed at the Theatres-Royal Drury-Lane and Covent-Garden; regulated from the prompt-books [Bell's British theatre, V, 5 (London: John Bell [for the proprietors] MDCCXCII [1792]), 111, [1]p., 1 pl. [Bodleian]. 4] The discovery: a comedy, as it is performed at the Theatres-Royal in Drury-lane and Crow-street, / written by the Editor of Miss Sidney Bidulph [Mrs. Sheridan] (Dublin: G. Faulkner 1763), [8], 88pp.; partially misbound; incl. Dublin cast-list [TCD]; another edn. (London: T. Davies, J. Dodsley, G. Kearsly, J. Coote, and J. Walter, 1763), [4], 139p [8vo] 5] The discovery: a comedy in five acts written by Mrs. Francis Sheridan; adapted for the modern stage by Aldous Huxley (London: Chatto & Windus 1924), 121pp. 5] Do., facs. rep. of The History of Nourjahad [London: J. Dodsley 1767), with James Boswell, Dorando [London: J. Wilkie 1767] (NY: Garland 1974). 7] The Dupe: a comedy, as it is now acting at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane Lane by His Majesty's servants / by the author of The Discovery (London: A. Millar […]1764), [8], 68, [4]pp. [TCD, &c.]; Do. (Dublin: G. & A. Ewing, Wil. Smith & Son, Peter Wilson, John Exshaw, Tim. Dyton, Mat. Williamson, Sam. Price, Eliz. Watts, Hen. Saunders, Jam. Potts, John Mitchell, and Jam. Williams 1764. Dublin 1764) [TCD]. 8] The history of Nourjahad / by Mrs F. Sheridan [with] Almoran and Hamet / by Dr. Hawkesworth, with a biographical preface (London: printed for J. Walker, J. Richardson, F. C. and J. Rivington, R. Lea, J. Nunn, Newman & Co., Lackington, Allen, and Co., Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, Cadell and Davies, Black and Parry, Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, Cradock and Joy, J. Asperne, Gale, Curtis, and Fenner, and J. Robinson 1814), 190pp., 2 ills. [Manchester ULib]; Do., rep. edn. The History of Nourjahad (London: Elkin Mathews & Marrot 1927), ix, 120pp: ill. 9] The history of Nourjahad / by Mrs. Sheridan, author of Sidney Bidulph, &c. To which is prefixed a genuine account of the author (Dublin: J. Parry 1802), xiv, 218pp. [Nottingham U.] 10] Samuel James Arnold [librettist, 1774-1852], Illusion, or, the trances of Nourjahad: an oriental romance, in three acts / founded on a Persian tale by Mrs. Sheridan, as now performed at the Theatre-Royal, Drury-Lane ; the music composed and selected by Mr. [Michael] Kelly (London: J. Barker 1813), vii, 39, [41]pp. 11] [History of Nourjahad] trans. By Madame de Serionne as Les desirs accomplis, et les plaisirs trompeurs (Londres [i.e. Frankfurt] 1771), [2], 250pp. 12mo. [Leeds ULib.] 12] Patricia Koster and Jean Coates Cleary, eds., Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph [by] Frances Sheridan [Oxford world's classics] (Oxford: OUP 1995, 1999), xxxix, 478pp.. 13] Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph, extracted from her own journal, and now first published. In three volumes [4th edn.; 5 vols.] (London: J. Dodsley 1770-1772) [Memoirs, vols. 1-3; Conclusion, vols. 4-5 - the latter dated 1770 [copy at TCD Lib.]; Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph, extracted from her own journal, / by Mrs. Sheridan [4th edn.; 2 vols.] (Dublin: H. Chamberlaine 1782). 14] Robert Hogan and Jerry C. Beasley, eds., The plays of Frances Sheridan (Delaware UP; NJ: Associated UP 1984), 209pp. [Introduction; The discovery; The dupe; A journey to Bath; and appendices with rejected prologues by James Boswell. 15] Alicia Le Fanu, Memoirs of the life and writings of Mrs Frances Sheridan,: mother of the late Right Hon. Richard Brinsley Sheridan … with remarks upon a late life of the Right Hon. R. B. Sheridan, also criticisms and selections from the works of Mrs Sheridan; and biographical anecdotes of her family and contemporaries; with a portrait / by her grand-daughter, Alicia Lefanu (London: printed for G. & W. B. Whittaker 1824), xi, [1], 435pp.

[ top ]

Notes
Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph (1761) - OUP [World Classics] book notice: ’Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph is at the centre of many important currents in the 18th-century novel. It is a cult-of-distress and sentimental classic, a love story of great moral complexity, and also a probing example of conduct-book fiction. Sidney’s engagement to Orlando Faulkland becomes complicated when his previous affair with the pregnant Miss Burchell comes to light. Renouncing Faulkland, Sidney marries a second suitor. But neither the passionate and devoted Faulkland nor the ardently inflamed Miss Burchell disappears from her life. Sidney’s story takes the cult of female distress into the conjugal relationship, showing the tortures that the virtuous mid-eighteenth century woman suffers when she tries to live her life according to the period’s laws of good conduct.’ (See COPAC online - accessed 12.09.2011.)

[ top ]

Daddy! Daddy!: Mrs. Malaprop, in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals, based on Mrs. Tryfort in A Journey to Bath, a unpublished play by the dramatist’s mother Frances Sheridan.

Emma Donoghue, The Woman who Gave Birth to Rabbits (London: Virago, 2002), contains a story, How a Lady Dies, dealing with the friendship of Elizabeth Pennington, a dying lady of means, and her companion Frances Sheridan in the fashionable resort [146-62].

[ top ]

Play reading: Juggernaut Theatre Company and The Queens Company, presents a reading and discussion of The Discovery by Mrs. Frances Sheridan (1724-1766), mother of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, in their ‘The First 100 Years: The Professional Female Playwright’ series. Notice: “ Considered by David Garrick to be the best comedy of the age, The Discovery with its star-studded cast was an immediate success at Drury Lane in 1763, and at various revivals years later. Taking on the topic of what marriage can be, might be, ought to be, and too often is. The Discovery was both an influence on Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s plays, and sometimes their rival at competing theatres. […]’ Venue: The Connelly Theatre, 220 East Fourth Street , NYC at 1.00 p.m. on 1 May 2004. Directed by Gwynn MacDonald with Melinda C. Finberg as Guest Dramaturg. Hosted by The Queens Company in conjunction with their production of  The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. (Information supplied by Juggernaut.)

[ top ]