Delariviere Manley

1663 - 1724



Image of Manley's journal, The New Atlantis


A brief introduction to Manley and her prominent female style of writing

Delariviere Manley's first active writing period was from 1696-1705. Although at first glance, she does not appear to be explicitly political, she was England's first professional woman political journalist. However, Manley is best known for her Tory scandal fictions: The Secret History of Queen Zarah (1705), The New Atlantis (1709), and Memoirs of Europe (1710). Those detailed scandals of the rich and famous of the royal courts from Charles II to Queen Anne.

The New Atlantis of 1709 is Manley's best known work. It allegorized the contemporary political scene. Written as a series of anecdotes and novellas told by the Lady Intelligence, Virtue and Astrea, it was the most notorious expose of alleged misdemeanors of its day. The New Atlantis featured the Churchhills and the Whig Junto as its main targets.

Although Manley was struck by ill health, her last ten years life were a lot less strenuous. Around 1720, she received a large sum of money for her play, Lucius The First Christian King of Britain. That enabled her to buy a house in Beckley, a nice village near Oxford, where she continued to write more novellas. In addition to her set of novellas titled The Power of Love, she continued to publish more poems. Unfortunetly, on July 11, 1724, she died, at John Barber's house in London.[4]


Excerpt from New Atlantis (1709): New Atalantis: I.33–34

[Count Fortunatus (Marlborough), devises a scheme in order to dupe his mistress, the duchess (Barbara Cleveland), who expects to find him “lain down upon a day-bed.” Instead, she discovers the amorous Germanicus (Henry Jermyn, Baron of Dover), who arouses her passion with his beauty. Following this scene, Fortunatus bursts in, feigns anger, and declares that he will marry Jeanatine.]

"...the Dutchess, who had about her all those desires, she expected to employ in the embraces of the Count, was so blinded by ‘em, that at first she did not perceive the mistake, so that giving her eyes, time to wander over beauties so inviting, and which encreased her flame; with an amorous sigh, she gently threw her self on the bed close to the desiring youth; the ribbon of his shirt-neck not tied, the bosom (adorned with the finest lace) was open, upon which she fixed her charming mouth, impatient and finding that he did not awake, she raised her head, and laid her lips to that part of his face that was revealed. The burning lover thought it was now time to put an end to his pretended sleep, he clasped her in his arms, grasped her to his bosom, her own desires helped the deceit; she shut her eyes with a languishing sweetness, calling him by intervals, her dear Count, her only lover, taking and giving a thousand kisses, he got the possession of her person, with so much transport, that she owned all her former enjoyments were imperfect to the pleasure of this." [5]


An image of another popular woman's journal, The Lady's Monthly Museum