Friday, December 12, 2014

The New Jack the Giant Killer, by Mrs Dorothea Lamont of Belfast

Chapbook Jack the Giant Killer

Mrs Lamont kept a 'juvenile school' at Donegall Street at the corner of Commercial Court. She was described by one of her pupils. Thomas McTear. as 'a remarkably fine lady, and a great favourite with children. She wrote amusing books for the young, such as Jack the Giant-killer, etc., and was very entertaining'. Her edition was advertised in the 1842 edition of The Edinburgh Review, and in the 1839 edition of the London Catalogue of Books

Who was Mrs Lamont?  It is likely that she was Dorothea Lamont, the wife of noted United Irishman and Belfast intellectual Aeneas Lamont. Aeneas Lamont had been the typesetter of The Northern Star, and corresponded with George Washington. Aeneas died in 1803 and his widow corresponded with Samuel Thomson, the 'Father of Ulster-Scots Poetry'. A Mrs Lamont of Belfast was a subscriber to Ulster-Scots poet Andrew M'Kenzie's 1810 collection of poems, and in 1818 a volume entitled Poems and Tales in Verse by Mrs Aeneas Lamont was published in London (link here). 

With a bit of research and untangling there could be a brilliant story here - linked to one of the most famous children's books ever written.