A Circumstantial Account; or, The Rake's Design: Robert Bolling's Epistolary Novel Academic Article uri icon


  • Aman's letters," according to Samuel Johnson, "are only the mirrour of his breast, whatever passes within him is shown un- disguised in its natural process. Nothing is inverted, nothing distorted, you see systems in their elements, you discover actions in their mo- tives." ' Donning the guise of the libertine complaining and bragging to his compatriot R. B. (presumably Robert Beverley), Robert Bolling wrote his epistolary journal to regain the sexual prowess and confidence lost when he became Anne Miller's "discarded lover" (54) after the abrupt end of their nine-months' courtship on 16 September 1760, when Miller set sail for Scotland.2 The journal's full title, A Circumstantial Account of Certain Transactions, that once greatly interested the Writer and which terminated at Flower-de-Hundred, on the sixteenth of September, 1760, as such juvenile Transactions do frequently to the Satisfaction of Nobody,3 ini- tially suggests an objective account, but the work takes an emotional turn, introducing a narrative written in bitter retrospection.

published proceedings

  • American Literature

author list (cited authors)

  • Stabile, S.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Stabile, Susan

publication date

  • March 1995