Alas! Or, Some Titles of “Interest”

Ada Maria Jocelyn, £100,000 Versus Ghosts: A Novel.  1888.
UK’s Most Haunted: The 19th Century Edition

Anonymous, The Life and Adventures of Toby, the Sapient Pig; with his opinions on men and manners. Written by himself.  1805 (although this date may be inaccurate?).
Toby was quite the celebrity in his day, and his memoirs were sold at his performances for the princely sum of one shilling.

Unknown, A Journey to the Moon, and interesting conversations with the inhabitants, respecting the condition of man. 1815.


journey to the moon
Image from A Journey to the Moon



Leigh, Baron Chandos.  An Epistle to Emma. (To a skull converted into a drinking bowl.) [In verse.]  1816.
I can’t find a digital copy of this exact work, but from Google Books it appears that Emma is a separate individual to the person whose skull has been converted into a drinking bowl.  This is somehow reassuring to me.

Jackson, Zachariah.  A few concise examples of seven hundred errors in Shakespeare’s plays, now corrected and elucidated. 1818.
Just a few points… Not too many, really… Okay, look, Shakespeare, put the kettle on.  We’re going to be here a while.

Playfair, William.  France as it is, not Lady Morgan’s France. 1819.

We are not actuated by any feeling of enmity towards Lady Morgan, but, without offence, we mean to counteract, to the best of our power, the evil effects of her book, which is a wretched imitation of works written by Madam de Stael and the Countess de Genlis […]

We do not mean to follow Lady Morgan through the wild and irregular details she gives respecting her adventures in Paris, which are of no sort of importance; but what she says about the peasantry is of consequence, and it is likewise of importance to show Lady Morgan in her true light, that she may never again deceive the world.  (Page 10)

You know that your travel memoir has hit the big time when someone feels obliged to write an entire book contradicting it.

Mostyn, Sydney Gwenffrwd, Stay-at-Home Husbands, and how to manage them; by one of themselves. 1894.
Excerpt from my own copy, page 10:

I am indebted to my mother for the following anecdote of my infancy. When I was a twelvemonth old, it happened that my cot meeting with an accident, I was transferred for a night to the ‘couch genial’. Being a sturdy little fellow, and liking to kick my legs about, the transfer was highly agreeable. But when by-and-by the legal incumbents of the couch proposed sharing it with me, my delicacy — or some thing else — rose in instant rebellion, and I resisted the proposal with all my might. Ridicule, coaxing, and threat were each in turn brought to bear, but all in vain; and my unfortunate parents were obliged to stand shivering in the cold of a winter’s night, till Sleep, who was stronger than they, overpowered me. Then at last they crept stealthily in, one on each side.

Keith, L. (pseudonym of Grace L. Keith Johnston),  A Hurricane in Petticoats.  1889.

Bethune, Anne Florence Louisa Mary Patton, Bachelor to the Rescue.  1894.

Unknown,  The Poetic Works of a Weird.  1827.

poetic works of a weird
These must be some VERY alarming poetic works.

Broughton, Rhoda, Alas! A Novel.  1890.

A’Beckett, Arthur William, Fallen among Thieves: A novel of “Interest.”  1870.

Hill, John, The Inspector’s rhapsody or soliloquy, on the loss of his wigg, in a scuffle with some Irish gentlemen at Ranelagh. 1752.
Very little about Ranelagh has changed, from the sound of things.

These titles were all found in the British Library Labs collection of scanned works.  If you’ve read any of them, drop us a line about what you thought!

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