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Coelebs in Search of a Wife

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Coelebs in Search of a Wife
AuthorHannah More
CountryUnited Kingdom
Publication date
Followed byCoelebs Married 

Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1809) is a novel by the British Christian moralist Hannah More. It was followed by Coelebs Married in 1814.

It is sometimes known by the title Coelebs in Search of a Wife: Commprehending Observations on Domestic Habits and Manners, Religion and Morals.

The novel focuses on Cœlebs, a well-to-do young man who tries to find a wife who can meet the lofty moral requirements laid down by his (now deceased) mother.

Coelebs in Search of a Wife was extremely popular when it was published.[1] It combined its novelistic narrative with religious lessons, which helped it to become the first nineteenth century novel to be accepted enthusiastically by the large religious reading public (in Britain, the novel had often been seen as an unrespectable and even immoral literary form).[1]

Maria Edgeworth, in an 1810 letter to Mrs. Ruxton, claims that the bachelor was modeled on a Mr. Harford of Blaise Castle.

Frank Muir said "it is now high on the list of the world's most unreadable books".[2]


  1. ^ a b Pickering, Sam (1977). "HANNAH MORE'S "COELEBS IN SEARCH OF A WIFE" AND THE RESPECTABILITY OF THENOVEL IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY". Neuphilologische Mitteilungen. 78:1: 78–85 – via JSTOR.
  2. ^ The Frank Muir Book: An irreverent companion to social history, p. 347

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWood, James, ed. (1907). "More, Hannah". The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne.

Further reading

  • Cleere, E. (2007). "Homeland Security: Political and Domestic Economy in Hannah More's Coelebs in Search of a Wife". ELH. 74: 1–25. doi:10.1353/elh.2007.0001. S2CID 143751970.
  • Prior, Karen Swallow (2003). Hannah More's Cœlebs in search of a wife - a review of criticism and a new analysis. Lewiston, NY [u.a.]: Mellen. ISBN 978-0773466999.
  • PICKERING, S. (1977). Hannah More's Coelebs in Search of a Wife and the Respectability of the Novel in the Nineteenth Century. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen Helsinki, 78(1), 78–85.
  • Calè, L. (2000). "'A Female Band despising Nature's Law': Botany, Gender and Revolution in the 1790s". Romanticism on the Net (17): 0. doi:10.7202/005889ar.

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Coelebs in Search of a Wife
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