“SO MANY EFFUSIONS OF GENIUS, HUMOR, WIT, AND LEARNING”: FIRST COLLECTED EDITION OF THE TATLER
(STEELE, Richard). (The Tatler). The Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq. London: Charles Lillie and John Morphew, 1710-11. Four volumes. Octavo, contemporary full tan polished calf gilt, raised bands. $2000.
First collected edition of the famous early 18th-century periodical, containing the complete run of all 271 issues.
A periodical founded by Richard Steele, and often featuring the contributions of Addison, Swift and others, The Tatler was published three times weekly from April 12, 1709 until January 2, 1711. Initially, the periodical addressed subjects ranging from “all accounts of Gallantry, Pleasure, and Entertainment” to poetry and learning. The later issues exhibit a loftier focus, examining proper etiquette, the evils of gambling and the character of the ideal gentleman. In writing the essays, anecdotes and short stories included in The Tatler, Steele assumed the voice of Isaac Bickerstaff, a fictitious character created by Swift and used in a 1708 publication to parody the predictions of supposed astrologer John Partridge. Several other writers, including Steele, took up the joke, but as Walter Scott observed, “… the most memorable consequence of Swift’s frolic was the establishment of The Tatler, the first of that long series of periodical works which… have enriched our literature with so many effusions of genius, humor, wit, and learning” (Allibone, 2232).
Expert repair to spine heads. Handsome contemporary binding with light wear.