Santo Sebastiano: by CUTHBERTSON, Catherine (fl. 1803-1830).

CUTHBERTSON, Catherine (fl. 1803-1830).

Santo Sebastiano: or, the Young Protector. A Novel. In five volumes. Vol. I [-V]. London, George Robinson, 1809.

Second Edition. Five volumes, 12mo (175 x 100 mm), pp. [iv], 418; [iv], 403, [1]; [iv], 415, [1]; [iv], 422; [iv], 452, some scattered foxing in text, in contemporary straight-grained morocco, Greek key border to covers in blind inside double gilt filet, flat spines gilt elaborately gilt in compartments and lettered and numbered in gilt, dark blue endpapers, all edges gilt.

An attractive copy of the second edition of Catherine Cuthbertson’s popular gothic novel. Heavily influenced by Ann Radcliffe, it is written on a grand scale, over several generations, with the action taking place in England and on the continent. As is common to several of Cuthbertson’s novels, Santo Sebastiano begins with an arresting opening set in the very recent past: a young man of sensibility comes to a house where death and the bailiffs have arrived at the same moment. For no other motive than humanity, he stops to offer assistance, only to find that the victims are known to him. The late august Madame St. Clair and her beautiful granddaughter, Miss St. Clair, having been ruined by an implacable foe, have been given a home by Goodwin, the bookseller. The kind stranger pays to redeem the body and dismiss the bailiffs and then disappears, returning at the end of the volume to reveal the details of his Eton schoolboy squabbles and subsequent great friendship with Miss St. Clair’s father.
Although little known today, Catherine Cuthbertson was a popular novelist in her day and San Sebastiano, or the Young Pretender was one of her most well-known works. It saw considerable success and ran to a fourth edition in 1820. According to Summers, it was subsequently republished in penny numbers as The Heiress of Montalvan; or, First and Second Love, London, W. Caffyn, 1845-46, to a total run of 68 parts, illustrated with woodcuts.

Garside, Raven & Schöwerling 1806:24; Summers p. 494.

Keywords: Novels by Women
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