A Simple Story (novel)

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A Simple Story is a romance novel by English author and actress, Elizabeth Inchbald.[1] Published in early 1791 as an early example of a "novel of passion", it was very successful and became widely read in England and abroad.[1] It went into a second edition in March 1791.[2] It is still popular today.[3][4]

The book is divided into two plots.[5] The first follows the love story of young Miss Milner and her guardian Dorriforth, a Roman Catholic priest. The second half of the novel is about the troubled relationship of Dorriforth and his daughter Matilda after Miss Milner's adulterous affair after their marriage.

It examines the issues of the education of women, Catholicism, theatricality (A Simple Story attempted, to a certain point, to merge the novel and the play), sensibility,[5] and gender roles.


The general reception of A Simple Story was favorable. Maria Edgeworth, a novelist and educational philosopher, wrote a letter to Elizabeth Inchbald, in which she warmly praised the story, saying that she had "never read any novel—I except none—I never read any novel that affected me so strongly, or that so completely possessed me with the belief in the real existence of all the people it represents".[2]


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