"THEY WILL WONDERFULLY MEND THE WORLD": FIRST EDITION OF SWIFT'S GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
SWIFT, Jonathan. Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World. In four parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of several Ships… London: Printed for Benj. Motte, 1726. Two volumes. Octavo, contemporary full speckled calf sympathetically rebacked in calf-gilt, raised bands, burgundy morocco spine labels, original plain endpapers retained. $19,800.
First edition, scarce second issue (Teerink "AA") of Swift's classic satire—"at once a favorite book of children and a summary of bitter scorn for mankind"—with engraved frontispiece portrait of Gulliver, six plates (four maps and two plans), as well as numerous woodcut initials, head- and tail-pieces, in beautifully restored contemporary calf covers.
A classic "at once a favorite book of children and a summary of bitter scorn for mankind," Swift's masterpiece will "last as long as the language, because it describes the vices of man in all nations" (DNB). "A remarkable feat in the creation of imaginary worlds as a vehicle for satire upon the political and religious establishments of the day" (Clute & Grant, 914). "Gulliver's Travels has given Swift an immortality beyond temporary fame… For every edition designed for the reader with an eye to the historical background, 20 have appeared, abridged or adapted, for readers who care nothing for the satire and enjoy it as a first-class story" (PMM 185). "Of all Swift's writings it best shows the merits of his mind and his gifts of expression… It is important to realize that it could be written only by one who had the highest ideals for human achievement and who despaired of the achieving" (Baugh et al., 865-66)—although Swift himself expressed this hope for his "Travells" to a friend: "They are admirable Things, and will wonderfully mend the world" (Rothschild 2104). First published October 28, 1726. This copy is second issue (Teerink AA), published in mid-November 1726, with "Voyage" in title to Part IV not in capitals and with all other points; Volume II general title corresponds with Teerink B, as sometimes occurs: "Hubbard also says that copies of the AA edition occur with title 4 of the B edition" (Teerink, 198). Frontispiece in second state (Teerink's state 2a), with Latin inscription on tablet and vertical chain lines, as usual. Teerink 290. Grolier 100 42. Anatomy of Wonder II-1114. Fantasy and Horror 2-55. Contemporary engraved armorial bookplate of Charles Viscount Bruce of Ampthill (1682-1747), "son and heir apparent of Thomas Earl of Ailesbury"; later booklabel.
Occasional light foxing. Expert restoration to contemporary calf covers. A handsome copy with exceptional provenance.