First Edition from the Author of "Fanny Hill"
CLELAND, John. Woman of Honor. In Three Volumes. London: Printed for T. Lowndes and W. Nicoll , 1768.
First edition. Three twelvemo volumes (6 5/8 x 4 inches; 169 x 102 mm). [4], 250; [4], 246, [4, publisher's ads]; [4], 272, [1, errata], [1, blank] pp. With the errata leaf at the end of Volume III and four pages of publisher's ads at the end of Volume II. Engraved headpieces at the tops of the first pages of text to each volume. This is a rare three-decker, we could find no copies at auction in over 50 years and only three copies in U.S. libraries. The prose of this novel is made up of a series of letters like that of Fanny Hill.

Contemporary half calf over speckled paper boards. Calf tooled in blind on covers. Spine with black morocco spine labels, lettered in gilt. Spine tooled in gilt. All edges speckled red. Paper on boards rubbed and occasionally peeling away, the worst to volume I. Internally very clean and bright. Overall a very good set.

"In his first novel, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, Cleland relates the sexual adventures of Fanny Hill. In contrast, Cleland attempts in Woman of Honor to write an entirely decorous novel." (John Cleland versus the Novel. By Karin Kukkonen, Oxford Scholarship).

By way of a series of letters, The Woman of Honor follows the story Clara, an angelic woman of uncommon beauty and intelligence. Although she is pursued by many men of title and wealth, with good grace and charm she fended off their advances waiting for true love. The themes of the unjustness of the laws and positions of the Aristocracy who have inherited their wealth and titles are woven throughout this story.

The unsuccessful The Woman of Honor was Cleland's last novel before shifting his focus to linguistics. "Cleland experienced financial distress for the remainder of his life. Between 1749 and 1769 he was a highly productive but unsuccessful author, working in a variety of genres. He published at least two more novels—Memoirs of a Coxcomb (1751) and The Woman of Honor (1768)." (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography) ESTC T84797 .

HBS # 68165 $7,500