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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.

London: Benj[amin] Motte, 1726 Stock Code: 144949

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The true first edition of Gulliver's Travels

The true first edition of Swift's masterpiece, the most famous of all imaginary voyages, and among the greatest literary works of the 18th century, one of the few works from that period to have such a continued wide readership and such enduring cultural significance.

"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... 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'... 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).

The first edition, Teerink's A edition, was published on 28 October 1726. Two superficially similar but distinct octavo editions followed in quick succession: the second (eccentrically designated AA by Teerink) sometime in the middle of November, and the third edition (Teerink B) in December. The edition labelled "second edition" on both title pages was actually the fourth. Two states of the engraved frontispiece were distributed within the first edition, this the second state with the inscription "Captain Lemuel Gulliver" moved from a tablet underneath the portrait to within the oval around it; this does have any bearing on the priority of issue.

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2 volumes, octavo (189 x 121 mm). Early 20th-century brown calf, twin red and black morocco labels, spines gilt in compartments, covers bordered in gilt, blind roll to turn-ins, plain endpapers, gilt edges.


Frontispiece portrait of Gulliver (second state, no priority of issue), 4 maps and 2 plans.


Bookplate of C. Pearl Chamberlain with handwritten date of July 1917 to front pastedowns; old bookseller's description tipped-in to front pastedown of vol. I. Light rubbing at extremities and to joints else bindings in nice shape with all joints and hinges intact; contents with sporadic minor soiling and foxing yet generally clean without washing or repairs. A very good copy.


Grolier English 42; Rothschild 2104; Teerink 289; Printing and the Mind of Man 185.


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