Minerva Press was a publishing house, noted for creating a lucrative market in sentimental and Gothic fiction in the late 18th century and early 19th century. It was established by William Lane (1745?-1814) at No 33 Leadenhall Street, London, when he moved his circulating library there in about 1790.
Among his stable of writers were many female authors including Regina Maria Roche (The Maid of Hamlet, 1793; Clermont, 1798); Mrs. Eliza Parsons (The Castle of Wolfenbach, 1793; The Mysterious Warning, 1796); and Eleanor Sleath (The Orphan of the Rhine, 1798) whose Gothic fiction is included in the list of the seven Northanger Horrid Novels, recommended by the character Isabella Thorpe in Jane Austen's novel of similar name. Six of the Northanger Seven were published by Minerva. However many titles were anonymous, including such novels as Count Roderic's Castle (1794), The Haunted Castle (1794), The Animated Skeleton (1798) and The New Monk (1798). Authors such as Emma Parker ("Emma de Lisle") and Amelia de Beauclerc, who wrote for Minerva Press in the 1800s, are obscure today, and the market for Minerva's books became negligible after the death of its charismatic founder.
Lane was succeeded as proprietor of the Minerva Press by his partner, Anthony King (A. K.) Newman, who gradually dropped the Minerva name from his books' title pages during the 1820s. Later books published by the press bear the imprint "A. K. Newman & Co."
In the 20th century, the name Minerva Press was used by at least one publisher; however, this has no connection with the original Minerva Press.
Valancourt Books reprints
Valancourt Books began reprinting Minerva Press titles in 2005, beginning with their first release, the anonymously written The Animated Skeleton. They have since gone on to print over twenty of these titles, most including introductions by leading scholars.
- Expanded history of Minerva Press (About halfway down the page)
- Additional information relating to Minerva and their demise Collated by Rob Wassell, author of REM, published by Minerva Press
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