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Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World.
  • 107801
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[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.

Published: London: Benj[amin] Motte, 1726

Stock code: 107801

Price: £25,000

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First edition, Teerink’s A edition with all the necessary points to distinguish it from the two later printings (Teerink AA and B) also dated 1726. Teerink’s A was published on 28 October, AA some time in the middle of November, and the B edition in December. The first five editions of Gulliver’s Travels (three octavo editions in 1726, one octavo and one duodecimo edition in 1727) were all published by Benjamin Motte. “The clandestine business of getting into print a pseudonymous and satirically explosive political satire entitled Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World (known from the start by its more popular title, Gulliver’s Travels) was managed chiefly by Pope, with the assistance of John Gay and Erasmus Lewis. For speed, and to counter the risk of piracy, Motte used five printing houses (those of Edward Say, Henry Woodfall, James Bettenham, William Pearson, and, for the greatest share, that of Jane Ilive). The first edition appeared on 28 October 1726 in two octavo volumes at the price of 8s. 6d., but with unauthorized deletions and insertions by Andrew Tooke (the brother of Benjamin Tooke jun.), and sold out within a week. Gay wrote: ‘From the highest to the lowest it is universally read, from the Cabinet-council to the Nursery’ … Motte followed up with two more octavo editions in 1726 and a duodecimo in 1727, and there was a serialized version which began in the Penny Post (25 November 1726). There were two Dublin editions before the end of 1726, each set up from Motte’s first edition… The book sold well in French: the first complete translation appeared at The Hague in January 1727, and an abridged adaptation by the Abbé Desfontaines in Paris in April … Swift received from Motte £200 and possibly more from the sales of the book, largely due to Pope’s effort at instilling into his friend the principles of ‘prudent management’ … Gulliver’s Travels is the book by which Swift is chiefly remembered, and it is the record of his own experience in politics under Queen Anne as an Irishman in what G. B. Shaw called ‘John Bull’s other island'” (ODNB).

2 volumes, octavo (184 x 114 mm). Skilfully rebound to style with contemporary sprinkled calf boards, red morocco labels to spine lettered gilt, gilt raised bands and decoration to spine, gilt rules to covers, gilt roll to board edges, all edges gilt. Housed in a dark brown leather entry slipcase. Frontispiece portrait of Gulliver (second state, as called for), 4 maps and 2 plans. Faint ownership inscription to foot of p. 163. Some occasional spots to contents, Vol. I with small repair to foot of half-title, and foot of p. 55, worming to last few pages of volume I in margin neatly repaired and not affecting text. An excellent set, attractively bound.

Bibliography: Ashley VI, p.28; Grolier English 42; Rothschild 2104; Teerink 289; Printing and the Mind of Man 185.

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