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Devereux : a tale : manuscript


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Emily Shore, a young nineteenth century English woman, wrote poetry, fiction and diaries.

Diarist and writer Margaret Emily Shore, was born on December 25, 1819, at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England, to Thomas Shore and Margaret Anne Twopeny. Thomas Shore was a writer and educator who received private pupils at his home, where he also educated his daughters. Emily's sisters, Arabella and Louisa Catherine, distinguished themselves as poets, translators, critics, and editors. They were the editors of the

Journal of Emily Shore published in 1891.

Emily Shore wrote a variety of work, producing histories, two novels, poems, essays, translations and her diaries. Of these works only two short essays were published in the

Penny Magazine in December 1837. Shore's literary legacy has been her journal, kept between July 1831, and June 1839, shortly before her death at the age of nineteen.

In her journal, Emily Shore wrote about daily events in her own life as well as institutions such as the London Zoo, and on the Reform Bill of 1832, and the new poor law of 1834. She was a talented naturalist, daily recording the habits of birds in the family garden at Woodbury in Bedfordshire. Those observations were the basis of her essays in the

Penny Magazine.

Emily Shore died of consumption on July 7, 1839, at Funchal, Madeira, and was buried there in the Strangers' burial-ground.

Barbara T. Gates, ‘Shore, (Margaret) Emily (1819–1839)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 17 Feb 2009]

Original holograph manuscript in her extraordinarily neat and barely corrected hand, consisting of title-page, dedication, two pages, to her cousin Miss Anna Dennis, introduction, two pages, contents page, 264 pages text, comprising chapters X to XXII. Small pencil sketch of a seated woman on blank opposite title (probably a self-portrait).

The introduction to the author's posthumously published journal refers to and illustrated her "printing hand, varying but little from first to last" and explains that the journal was "written impromptu, without a rough draft, in the midst of as busy a life as ever a young creature had." Another novel by Margaret Emily Shore

The Emigrants' Tale is mentioned on the title-page of Devereux.

Neither novel seems ever to have been published and indeed they seem scarcely known of.

Devereux is "the tale of a precocious boy, who escapes from his home, turns pirate, and redeems a career of crime by one act of splendid and pathetic self=sacrifice." The introduction to the journal states that the author "had neither read nor heard of Trelawney's 'Adventures of a Younger Son' when she wrote it. Both these works show book-knowledge of other countries, an eye for localities, and skill in describing nature. The printed manuscript of Devereux is perhaps, the most beautifully executed of all her works; it is, in fact, perfect.'"

The chapter headings are as follows: The Island; The Captive; Sorcery; Double-Dealing; The Schooner; The Familiar Spirit; Wooing in Paris; Superstitions; Assassination; The Day of Departure; The Deserted; Wanderlings; and Slavery.

There are a few poems and fragments reproduced at the end of the published journal. Those aside, the present manuscript is presumably the only known surviving example of the author's fictional prose.

In her introduction to the novel the author states that she will in all likelihood not finish

Devereux, and it seems clear that a third volume was never written. She also points out that it is considerably longer than the first volume, that what little time she could give to it was "snatched from the evening hours, when the conclusion of a day of mental labour at a time when my health was too weak to sustain it without excessive fatigue had left me pretty well exhausted both in mind and body" and that "the highly improbably, but to the merit of skillfully interweaving incident and adventure I make no pretension...My aim has been rather to depict feelings and passions, to penetrate into the workings of the human heart, and to rouse up the deep sympathies of our nature."

Written so soon before her untimely death, the poignancy of her conclusion is almost unbearable: "I have nothing more to say to you, Reader, except that as you are not likely to be any one out of the circle of my relations, to whom I might have explained all this more shortly by word of mouth, I have to beg your pardon for giving the trouble of reading the above, in which after all I do not know that there is anything worth my asking you to read."

Fortunately, this volume has survived and perhaps now can be made available to a readership the author would never have anticipated.

Box 56, F0837: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0099 manuscript boxes.

Purchase, December 2008.

Processed by Anita Wellner, February 2009. Further processed and encoded by George Apodaca, November 2015.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2015 November 5
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

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Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Devereux : a tale : manuscript.
Box 56 Folder F0837

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