The Byron Journal

On a Special Copy of Caroline Lamb's Glenarvon Recently Discovered in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek

The Byron Journal (2009), 37, (2), 151–160.


This essay analyses a recently discovered copy of the first edition of Lady Caroline Lamb's Glenarvon in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek at The Hague filled with annotations and corrections apparently in the hand of its author. This copy shows many of the extensive revisions eventually implemented in the second edition of the novel. Some changes indicated in this special copy were not adopted, however, and a note on the punctuation in a hand not the author's raises the question of whether others edited the work, especially the punctuation. The essay shows how, working with great skill to minimise the labour of resetting type, Lamb appears to have made her text less vulnerable to charges of indecency, blasphemy, and animus towards friends and relations. However, it also shows that the novel's major themes remain substantially unaltered, while the transgressions of Lamb's protagonist, Lady Calantha, are excused as the result of ineluctable passions. The consistency of the substantive alterations and the inconsistency of the punctuational changes suggest that Lamb probably had the final word on revisions.

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Author details

Grimbergen, Ria

Douglass, Paul