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HAMILTON, Elizabeth.

Memoirs of the Life of Agrippina, the Wife of Germanicus.

Bath: Printed by R. Cruttwell; for G. & J. Robinson, London, 1804 Stock Code: 81656
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First edition. Hamilton (1756?-1816) was a Belfast-born novelist and essayist. She is best-known for her writings on the philosophy of education. In her Memoirs of Modern Philosophers of 1800 a "popular satirical attack on what she perceived as the excesses of contemporary radical thought. She is sceptical about the claims of freethinkers such as William Godwin but she was no reactionary and was willing to praise aspects of the work of Mary Wollstonecraft, whose ideas about female education were in some respects very similar to Hamilton's" (ODNB). Published the following year - and republished several times as Letters on the Elementary Principles of Education - Letters on Education offered "detailed theoretical explorations of how children learn, and owes at least as much to the philosophical theories of John Locke as it does to the era's standard conduct-book advice on girls' education." An obituary, published anonymously in the Gentleman's Magazine but most likely by Maria Edgeworth, considered that "in her educational writing Hamilton had 'thrown open to all classes of readers those metaphysical discoveries or observations which had been confined chiefly to the learned'. This interest in making complex ideas accessible to a wide audience also shapes some of Hamilton's less theoretical work. For example, the Life of Agrippina, Wife of Germanicus, a lightly fictionalised biography, attempts to use the techniques of fiction to interest young women readers in questions of ethics and morality raised by historical studies".

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3 volumes, octavo (191 x 117 mm). Contemporary diced calf, title gilt direct to the spine in the second compartment, volume number to the fourth, stylised quatrefoil device in the first, third, fifth and sixth, title to the tail, narrow bands with dashed gilt roll, double fillet gilt panel to the boards, gilt milled edge-roll to the corners, edges sprinkled in sanguine, drab endpapers.


Half-titles bound in.


Somewhat rubbed, upper board volume II sunned, joints cracked but held firm by cords and with some minor restoration, a good copy.


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