Berget Henneth: by BAGE, Robert (1728-1801).CHENON, Leonhard Johan (1732-1808), translator.

BAGE, Robert (1728-1801).
CHENON, Leonhard Johan (1732-1808), translator.

Berget Henneth: Dygdens och Wänskapens Fristad. En Engelsk Roman, i Brev författad. Översatt af Leonh. Joh. Chenon. Förra Delen. Nypöping, Joh. P. Hammarin, 1796.

First Edition in Swedish. Two volumes, 12mo (155 x 90 mm), pp. 204, [1]; 232, upper margin of title-page cut away to remove a signature (traces remaining), faint dampstaining across first few leaves, some browning and spotting throughout, in contemporary stiff blue paper wrappers, worn and dust-soiled, head and foot of spine chipped, with a contemporary ownership inscription on the title-page.

A scarce Swedish translation of Robert Bage’s first novel, Mount Henneth, first published by Lowndes in 1782. Mostly remembered today for his best-selling Hermsprong, Bage was a successful paper-manufacturer from Staffordshire. He also went into partnership with Erasmus Darwin in an ironworks and slitting mill at Wychnor, but this business was to fail in 1782 on the bankruptcy of one of the other partners. It is thought that perhaps this loss of income was one of the factors that encouraged him to start writing novels. A Quaker by birth and a radical by politics, Bage combined good business with a belief in excellent welfare for his employees. He was also known for his ideas regarding animal welfare, religious tolerance and the education of the poor. He served as a trustee for Reverend Hill’s local charity dedicated to providing schooling for the poor children of Elford village, was a member of the Derby Philosophical Society and in later life studied mathematics under the astronomer Thomas Hanson.

Well-received on publication, Samuel Badcock praised Mount Henneth’s ‘superior merit’ and recommended it with conviction: ‘for we do not remember that we have, for many years, had the satisfaction of reviewing a work of this kind, that abounds with more lively strokes of wit, or sallies of fancy; with more judicious reflections, or pleasing and interesting characters. Its sentiments are liberal and manly, the tendency of it is perfectly moral; for the whole design is to infuse into the heart, by the most engaging examples, the principles of honour and truth, social love, and general benevolence’ (Monthly Review, 66, February 1782, pp. 129-30).

As Bage’s first publication, it is not surprising that this is one of the scarcer of his novels. A German translation was published as Henneth Castle, Leipzig 1783, but there appears to have been no French translation.

See Garside, Raven & Schöweling 1782:12 (this edition not listed); not in Rochedieu.

OCLC lists BL and the Swedish Royal Library only.

Keywords: Continental Books
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