Mrs E. M. Foster entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
Nothing is known about the life of Foster (Mrs E. M. Foster), whose works were published with very limited information about the author. Authorship was indicated sometimes by initials ("E.M.F") but mainly via chains of allusions to other texts ("By the author of . . . "), making definitive attribution difficult. Novels in these sometimes contradictory chains of attribution were published in the years 1795-1817. There are eight or ten novels generally accepted to be by Foster as well as six others of more dubious attribution. Mrs E. M. Foster published exclusively in the novel genre, beginning with historical novels with gothic and melodramatic elements, and moving to sentimental courtship fiction. The novels' settings include a variety of British locations as well as European and colonial locales and often use the motif of long-lost relatives. They cite or reference a wide range of literary works, mostly by men. Overall they promote mainstream Christian morals, often using an ironic or satirical approach to genre, manners, and morals and frequently featuring a narrator who identifies as a woman (sometimes as "an Old Maid") Bibliographic Citation link. with a kind of proto-feminist perspective.
By April 1795 The initials E.M.F. first appeared on a title-page with the earlier of two historical novels attributed to MEMF: The Duke of Clarence: An Historical Novel. It was advertised in October 1794, reviewed by April 1795, and reprinted by Minerva in 1814. Bibliographic Citation link.
July 1801 The last novel generally accepted to be by MEMF, Concealment: or the Cascade of Llantwarrhyn: a Tale, was published. Its title-page claims it is by the same author as Judith, Miriam, and the more dubious Fedaretta. Bibliographic Citation link.
October 1808 An epistolary novel published as The Woman of Colour, A Tale was ascribed to "the Author of Light and Shade, The Aunt and the Niece, Ebersfield [sic] Abbey, etc". MEMF is not generally accepted by scholars as the author but as no other candidates have been firmly identified, we include information about this novel here. Bibliographic Citation link.
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