Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Gulliver's Travels
Gulliver's Travels
2 More
“Undoubtedly, philosophers are in the right when they tell us that nothing is great or little otherwise than by comparison.”
Gulliver's Travels

Berland copy, first state

Details
Gulliver's Travels
Berland copy, first state
SWIFT, Jonathan (1667-1745). Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World ... by Lemuel Gulliver. London: Benj[amin] Motte, 1726.

First edition of Swifts masterpiece, Teerink's A edition, and with the portrait of Gulliver in the rare first state. The Berland copy. No other English prose work is so multi-faceted. Both of its time and timeless, it succeeds as a Scriblerian satire, burlesque travelogue, moral fable, anti-novel, adventure in science fiction, a uniquely loved children’s book, and personal psychodrama. One of its great qualities is the kind of verisimilitude normally associated with Defoe. In contrast to Defoe, however, the world which Swift makes believable is one of exalted fantasy. The work remains “absolutely original, unequaled, unexampled,” words which Pope, in a letter to Lord Orrery, applied to all of Swift’s writings (A. Pope, Corr. iv. 59).

The Travels were written in Ireland, probably between 1720 and 1725, and Swift brought the finished manuscript to England with him when he left Dublin for London in March 1726. As the time of publication approached, it was frequently discussed by his friends, but even after its appearance on 28 October 1726 Swift kept up the public pretence of having had no hand in it. Arbuthnot believed it would have as great a run as Bunyan, and Gay wrote of the impression being "sold in a week" and "read from the cabinet council to the nursery." The manuscript had been delivered to Motte's door by Charles Ford, but it was through Pope's efforts that Swift obtained £200 for the copyright. He was to claim that this was the only occasion that he ever made a farthing by his writings (to Pulteney, 12 May, 1735). Ashley VI, p.28; Grolier English 42; Rothschild 2104; Teerink 289; PMM 185. (2)

Two volumes, octavo (192 x 120mm). Engraved frontispiece portrait of Gulliver with no legend around the frame (a few minor repairs along gutter margin) and 6 plates (some very minor browning and occasional soiling). Near uniform contemporary panelled calf, red speckled paper edges (vol. I with spine ends and upper corners repaired, vol. II repaired at head of spine); custom red morocco pull-off case. Provenance: 'Peony Juce ad59' (contemporary inscription on front blank) – sold by John F. Fleming, New York, 11 April 1973, to: – Abel E. Berland (bookplates, his sale Christie’s New York, 8 October 2001, lot 113).

Brought to you by

Heather Weintraub
Heather Weintraub Specialist, Books, Manuscripts, & Archives

More from The Exceptional Literature Collection of Theodore B. Baum: Part One

View All
View All