The unfortunate queen

Posted on 26th August 2014 by simonbeattie


Princess Caroline Matilda (1751–1775), the youngest sister of George III, was married off to her cousin, Christian VII of Denmark, when she was only 15.  It was not a happy marriage.  Christian was a mentally unstable philanderer who claimed it was ‘unfashionable to love one’s wife’, and Caroline eventually drifted into an affair with the royal physician Johan Struensee, a rising star at the Danish court who effectively ruled the country for ten months as Christian’s mental health worsened.  Caroline and Struensee were arrested in January 1772; Caroline’s marriage to Christian was dissolved a few months later, and Struensee was executed.  In May, Caroline was deported, without her two children, to Celle in Germany, where she was supported by the Hanoverian exchequer.  She died three years later, of scarlet fever, aged 23.

Caroline 1

This is a translation of the spurious Memoirs of an unfortunate Queen, originally published in 1776 by the London bookseller, John Bew.  The public bought up two editions within the year, and Bew also brought out one in French.  That a German version should follow is not surprising, but the ‘Boston’ imprint most certainly is.  (The book was probably printed in Celle.)  Although you see ‘Philadelphia’ fairly regularly, ‘Boston’ struck me as unusual, and interesting.  The only earlier German book with a ‘Boston’ imprint, according to ESTC, is a small volume of sermons, Predigten von einem Bostonischen Geistlichen (1776), apparently printed in Bern.

You can read about another fictitious imprint, ostensibly the first book printed in California, here.

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4 responses to “The unfortunate queen”

  1. John Lancaster says:

    Perhaps even more interesting as a bibliographical phenomenon, since there appear to be three editions with identical title and imprint. Two are recorded in ESTC (T103437 and N478826); the reproduction in ECCO of the BL copy of the first one shows that at least the title is different from the one displayed above, and the second is described as having a title vignette of two angels around an oval, which is different from both.

    • simonbeattie says:

      Indeed! I had one of the ones listed in ESTC before, and noticed the difference from the one in ECCO at the time. The pagination is the same for both (pp. 223, [1]). Added interest in the one I have at the moment is that the pagination runs pp. 151, [1]. It could be that this version is unrecorded. I couldn’t find it in WorldCat, at least.

  2. […] few weeks ago, I wrote about a fictitious Boston imprint from 1777.  Here’s something in the same vein, or so I first thought: a German novel from […]

  3. […] The New Antiquarian, so thought I’d share it here, too.  I’ve written before about a fictitious Boston imprint.  That book had no obvious connection with the United States, but this one does: it’s an […]

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