SWIFT, Jonathan. The Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D:D.S.P.D. Four volumes.

2,500.00

1 in stock

Dublin: Printed by George Faulkner, in Essex Street, 1742/46. Crown octavo. Contemporary full Dublin mottled calf, cream endpapers, board edges hatched in gilt. Spine divided into six panels by five gilt raised bands, title in gilt on contrasting red and olive green morocco labels, the remainder elaborately tooled in gilt; cream endpapers All edges red. Upper joint of Vol. I weak, but firm. Internally superb. A very handsome set

The relationship between Jonathan Swift, eighteenth-century Ireland’s greatest writer, and his Dublin publisher George Faulkner - ‘The Prince of Dublin printers’, as Swift described him - was of great benefit to them both. Though most of what he had written had been first published in England, Swift wanted the first substantial collection of his Works to appear in Ireland, which it did in 1735, ‘Printed by and for George Faulkner’. The first four volumes of this edition of The Works of J.S.D.D.D.S.P.D. -- that is of Jonathan Swift D.D. Dean of St Patrick’s Dublin -- sold very well, so well indeed that there was a crush in Faulkner’s Dublin shop on the day of its first appearance and more than nine hundred individuals had subscribed before publication. As more of Swift’s works came into the public domain over the next few years, Faulkner continued to add volumes to both his 8vo. and 12mo. editions of Swift’s works issuing a cancel title page each time he added a new volume. By the time of his death in 1775, Faulkner had made a fortune from his association with Swift and had seen his edition grow from its original four volumes to twenty. For his part, Swift had been able to influence what appeared in Faulkner’s volumes (which he could not have done if the volumes were printed in London), and his work - including Gulliver’s Travels which had first appeared anonymously - had been widely distributed and admired by people of all ranks in England and in Ireland. Faulkner’s printings played a significant part in the process by which Swift became an overwhelming presence in the literary worlds of both London and Dublin.

Faulkner’s octavo editions of Swift’s works from 1735 onwards are very handsome volumes; in fact, the early ones are among the finest printed books to emerge from eighteenth-century Dublin. Faulkner’s habit of printing new title pages for all existing volumes whenever he issued a new volume is well illustrated in the set now offered for sale. The titlepage for the series states that there are eight volumes in the set, but the ‘Advertisement’ in volume IV states that this fourth volume ‘compleats the set’. The title page for the series is dated 1746 and the publication dates for the volumes here range from 1742 to 1744. The four volumes are listed in the Swift bibliography of Teerink and Scouten as TS 44 (with minor dating variations, as is normal with the Faulkner Swift). All volumes are spaciously printed on fine, thick paper with impressive frontispieces featuring Swift and his invention ‘Lemuel Gulliver’; they contain all the necessary plates, maps and images. The set is an excellent example of Faulkner’s printing at its best; the books are internally in exceptional condition, the plates and type as crisp as they were when new, the paper as white and the gilt on the spines of what are probably Dublin bindings, not showing its age. One

noteworthy aspect of these volumes is the splendid dedication to Lord Chesterfield in volume II; this features a most impressive engraving of Chesterfield’s heraldic arms, executed by Philip Simms of Dame Street, Dublin, an engraver whose work was often used by Faulkner.

As the late, great Irish bibliographer Mary Paul Pollard observed in her Dictionary of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800 (London, 2000), “George Faulkner was undoubtedly the most enterprising, energetic and successful bookseller in eighteenth-century Dublin”. Throughout his long life, Faulkner also maintained good connections with members of the London book trade and his connection with Swift brought him friends in high places. As a publisher, he backed several Irish writers as well as Swift - George Berkeley, the earl of Orrery, Bishop Clayton and Charles O’Conor of Belnagare, for instance - and involved himself in Irish printings or reprintings of the work of many English writers. But it was in his championing of Swift, as a political writer, as a poet and, above all, as an Irish patriot that Faulkner made his most notable contribution to the cultural life of eighteenth- century Ireland. The volumes now offered for sale remind one how important it is for a great writer to have a great publisher.

 

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