Jane Porter, Thaddeus of Warsaw

A Novel

Jane Porter
Edited by Thomas McLean, Ruth Knezevich

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First scholarly edition of a bestselling historical novel

  • Explores the socio-political themes of the novel and deemed as relevant today as they were over 200 years ago
  • Situates work in the genealogy of the historical novel and examines its literary and cultural influence
  • Scholarly annotations clarify the historical context: the French Revolution, the related war in Poland, and Britain’s response to Polish refugees in the 1790s

Published in 1803, Thaddeus of Warsaw is a beguiling romance that also exposes the hardships faced by migrants in Britain two hundred years ago. Jane Porter tells the story of a dashing Polish refugee, Thaddeus Sobieski, who must escape hostilities in his homeland. In London he faces poverty and prejudice, but his courage and goodness bring him to the attention of a circle of women who, in a surprising role reversal, either aid or woo him. He must also solve the mystery of his birth by discovering and confronting the British father who abandoned him.

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Introduction by Thomas McLean

A Note on the Text

Thaddeus of Warsaw



[T]his reprint is timely … handsome, intelligent and well-appointed.

Min Wild, The TLS

Jane Porter’s Thaddeus of Warsaw (1803) — a pioneering historical novel of war, refugees, family, friendship, duty, and love—was a bestseller in its own day. It is now poised for a revival, thanks to editors Thomas McLean and Ruth Knezevich, who have produced a welcome first modern edition, richly annotated and beautifully introduced.

Devoney Looser, Arizona State University
Jane Porter (1776 – 1850) was an English historical novelist, dramatist and literary figure.

Thomas McLean is Associate Professor of English at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is the author of The Other East and Nineteenth-Century British Literature: Imagining Poland and the Russian Empire (2012) and editor of Further Letters of Joanna Baillie. He has written numerous articles on the life and work of Jane Porter, and he writes regularly on nation, migration, and many other aspects of nineteenth-century literature and culture.

Ruth Knezevich is a Lecturer in English at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her research interests include women writers of the long eighteenth century (1700-1830); paratexts and footnotes; and the negotiations of historical, geographical, and cultural identity in British literatures.

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