Quite often I accidentally come across strange Regency related information. (I plan to start sharing these nuggets of the weird and bizarre regularly if you’re interested). Today I was perusing the Gutenburg Project with the intention of reading Edgar Allan Poe and looking up Mary Wollstonecraft’s The Vindication of the Rights of Women. I read “The Purloined Letter” and then out of curiosity I thought I’d skim through the list of authors starting with A. I ended up in Anonymous and came across the title, “Goody Two Shoes”. Having spent most of my teen years in the 80’s this title conjurs up that irritating song by Adam Ant. It was a phrase that I assumed had come out of the 1940’s or 50’s. But no…it was a book. I clicked on it and found that it was a children’s book first published by John Newbery in 1765. The following excerpt is taken from the preface of a Victorian edition. It’s like a peep-hole through time.
“…in 1802, (the Regency link) Charles Lamb in writing to Coleridge (the poet), said–