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Original Stories From Real Life; With Conversations, Calculated To Regulate The Affections, And Form The Mind To Truth And Goodness. By Mary Wollstonecraft.

Mrs. Mary Godwin

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Moral Conversations And Stories
A Catalogue of Books composed for Children and young Persons


London:: Printed For J. Johnson, No. 72, St. Paul's Church-Yard., 1791.

Physical Description

viii, [iv], 177, [3] p., frontis., [5] pl.; 164 mm. (Duodecimo.)


[Frontis., t.p.] - Preface - Introduction - Contents - [Text, with pl.] - A Catalogue of Books composed for Children and young Persons, and generally used in the principal Schools and Academies in England. Printed for J. Johnson, No. 72, St. Paul's Church-yard.

Responsibility Note

The frontispiece is signed as drawn and engraved by Blake; the other five plates are unsigned.

Each plate carries the imprint of the publisher: 'Published by J. Johnson, Septr. 1st. 1791.'


The works of Mary Wollstonecraft, ed. M. Butler and J. Todd, 7 vols. (1989); G.E. Bentley, Blake books (1977), no. 514; R.R. Easson and R.N. Essick, William Blake: book illustrator: a bibliography and catalogue of the commercial engravings (1972), no. III.

Summary Note

G.E. Bentley in his Blake books (1977) no. 514 records a 1791 issue in which the words 'By Mary Wollstonecraft' are omitted from the title-page. The variant title at the head of the text is 'Moral Conversations And Stories'.

The text was originally published by Johnson in 1788, unillustrated.

The frontispiece and five plates are captioned and show [Frontis.] 'Look what a fine morning it is. - Insects, Birds & Animals, are all enjoying existence'; [1], 'The dog strove to attract his attention ...'; [2] 'Indeed we are very happy!'; [3] 'Be calm, my child, remember that you must do all the good you can the present day'; [4] 'Trying to trace the sound I discovered a little hut ...'; [5] 'Œconomy & Self-denial are necessary , in every station, to enable us to be generous'.

A 'New Edition' was published by Johnson in 1796, with the same plates but in a darkened working.

Blake's original drawings for this work are now in the Rosenwald Collection, Library of Congress, U.S.A.


Facsimiles were published in 1990 (Oxford: Woodstock Books) and 2001 (Otley: Woodstock Books). Microfilms have been made by Research Publications Inc. (Woodbridge, CT, 1986), and by the British Library.


Purchased for RA Library in 1872 (see 'List of Books Purchased and Presented', RA Annual Report for 1872, Appendix No. 5., p. 21).

Binding Note

20th-century half black calf, green cloth-covered boards; red morocco spine-labels lettered 'Original Stories' and 'Blake's Engravings', spine lettered 'R.A.' and '1791'.


Social ethics - Children
Children's literature - Fiction - Publishers' catalogues - Great Britain - 18th century
Illustrated books - Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


Joseph Johnson, publisher
William Blake, draughtsman, engraver