Prose in Manuscript

Few examples of Opie’s prose composition are extant. However, we have located two key manuscripts in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library (one fiction and one non-fiction), as well as two other fragmentary samples of her work.


The Painter and his Wife

The most tantalizing manuscript is the draft of the opening of Opie’s final, unfinished novel. Brightwell quotes from a letter to Elizabeth Fry by Opie concerning this work: “As it is possible that thou mayst have been told that new novel from my pen, called “The Painter and his Wife” is in press, I wish to tell thee this is a falsehood; that my publishers advertized this only begun work, unknown to me, and that I have written to say the said work is not written, nor ever will be” (192). Margaret Macgregor describes the Carr Mss. in Amelia Opie: Worldling and Friend as containing “Adelaide, the second act of a Roman play (no title); synopsis of a play in Gothic style;The Painter and his Wife (all by Amelia Opie)” among other material. Although the whereabouts of this document were unknown for several decades, the Berg Collection (NYPL) contains the ms.


Souvenirs d’une visite a Paris en 1802, Berg Collection of the New York Public Library

The Souvenirs consists of 104 pages (written on recto and verso) in French, which appear to be a draft of her travel memoir “Recollections of a Visit to Paris in 1802,” which was published in eight installments in The Lady’s Magazine, or Mirror of Belles-Lettres from July 1831 to February 1832. For a full discussion of this document, see Angela Yang Du, “From ‘Souvenirs’ to ‘Recollections’: Amelia Opie and the Practice of Self-translation,” European Romantic Review vol 29, no 2 (2018) pp. 161-181.


Single leaf, first page of Recollections of Days in Belgium  King-Pierce Collection [Scan]

The opening page of Opie’s travel memoir which appeared as “Recollections of Days in Belgium” in Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine (1840) ns, 7: 177-83, 293-301.


Account of the first day of the Anti-Slavery Convention of 1840. Chapin Library, Williams College, Massachusetts. 29 pages (some written on both recto and verso) uncatalogued.

This appears to be a collection in Opie’s hand of excerpts from a number of papers and periodicals reporting on the Convention.


Ephemera: Promissory Note 11 August 1812 King-Pierce Collection [Scan]

Note to Messrs March, Sibbald, & Co to pay the bearer 5 pounds on her account.