Mary Davys

(1531 words)
  • Martha F. Bowden

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 01 July 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