Rachel Carnell

Political Biography of Delarivier Manley

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This is the first full-length biography of Delarivier Manley (c.1670–1724). A Tory pamphleteer, playwright and satirical historian, Manley was regarded by her contemporaries Jonathan Swift and Robert Harley as a key member of the Tory propaganda team. Her best-selling political scandal chronicle, The New Atalantis (1709), helped to bring down the Whig ministry in 1710. Her reputation was tarnished, however, in subsequent generations and twentieth-century scholars often misread her works as under-developed novels rather than as complex works of political satire. Carnell argues that Manley's quasi-autobiographical writings Letters Writen by Mrs. Manley (1696) and The Adventures of Rivella (1714) are coyly political self-portraits which must be read in their historical context. She corrects many oft-repeated errors in extant scholarship, and uncovers previously unknown details about Manley's life, including evidence about three illegitimate children by John Tilly, Governor of Fleet Prison.
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550 printed pages

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