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The Lady’s Dressing Room.
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SWIFT, Jonathan.

The Lady’s Dressing Room.

To which is added, a Poem on Cutting down the Old Thorn at Market Hill.

Published: London: J. Roberts, 1732

Stock code: 111555

Price: £3,750

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This item is on show at 100 Fulham Road (map)

First edition of Swift’s “notorious and notable” (ODNB) poem, 750 copies were printed; also included here are the 10-line “Advice to a Parson. An epigram” and the 6-line “On seeing a worthy Prelate go out of Church in the Time of Divine Service”. “One of Swift’s most popular (if infamous) scatological poems, it appeared in numerous editions in his lifetime and elicited many responses… In the poem, Strephon sneaks into Celia’s dressing room during her absence. There he finds abundant evidence that Celia is not quite the goddess he thought her to be. Most of the poem is an inventory of her personal effects – all of which are stained, soiled, and reeking from her sweat and other bodily substances. Strephon’s search culminates in the unfortunate discovery of her full, putrid commode. This taints his perception of women, in general, and he in henceforth unable to see any dame without thinking of ‘all her stinks’… The ‘Dressing Room’ has generated a great deal of psychoanalysis and gender criticism and has been read as a grotesque lampoon of the ‘Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux’ littering Belinda’s dressing table in The Rape of the Lock by Swift’s friend Alexander Pope… Swift in this poem heartily discourages idealized views (so popular in pastorals and cavalier love lyrics) of women as anything more than mortal” (Degategno & Stubblefield, Critical Companion to Jonathan Swift: A Literary Reference to His Life and Works, 2006, pp. 213-14).

Quarto, 19 pp. Recent dark blue morocco, gilt lettered spine. Wood-engraved head-pieces, initials and tail-piece. Book label of Louis & Anne Marie Davidson. Band of toning at head of leaves. A very good, generously-margined copy.

Bibliography: Foxon S869; Rothschild 2132; Teerink 720.

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