Mary Davys

(1531 words)
  • Martha F. Bowden (Kennesaw State University)

Mary Davys is best known for her contribution to the early development of the novel in English. Her three best works, The Reform’d Coquet, Familiar Letters Betwixt a Gentleman and a Lady, and The Accomplish’d Rake, are distinctive for their adroit formal structure and witty dialogue. She was conscious of the need for form in fiction, notable in a period when the novel was often episodic rather than structured. As she explains in the Preface to her collected works:

I have in every Novel propos’d one entire Scheme or Plot, and the other Adventures are only incident or collateral to it; which is the great Rule prescribed by the Criticks, not only in Tragedy and other Heroick …
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Bowden, Martha F.. "Mary Davys". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 August 2005
[, accessed 25 January 2015.]

Articles on Davys' works

  1. Familiar Letters betwixt a Gentleman and a Lady
  2. Miscellaneous Works
  3. Plays
  4. The Accomplish'd Rake, Or Modern Fine Gentleman
  5. The Fugitive
  6. The Merry Wanderer
  7. The Reform'd Coquet