BUNYAN, John (1628-1688). The Pilgrim's Progress from this world to that which is to come . . . The fifth edition wich [sic] additions. London: for Nathaniel Ponder, 1682.
12° (146 x 78mm). Collation: A6 B-K12 L6. Advertisement leaf, verso blank, title with advertisement on verso, engraved frontispiece of "sleeping Bunyan", 13 engraved plates and engraved illustration on G4 verso. (Lacking L5-6, the final advertisement leaf and blank; L3-4 possibly supplied from another copy; 'L' of "London" on title either not printed or obliterated; two plates neatly repaired at inner margin; some text leaves with unobtrusive repaired tears, mainly marginal, occasionally affecting text.) 19th-century blue morocco gilt, gilt edges, by Francis Bedford. Provenance: Cardiff Castle bookplate.
A VARIANT EDITION KNOWN IN ONLY ONE OTHER COPY. It contains the rare engraving of Christian and Apollyon, and an unusual state of the famous frontispiece portrait. Although this edition claims, on the title-page, to be the fifth, it is actually the eleventh edition, including unauthorised ones. The 'real' fifth edition was published by Ponder in 1680, and the sixth in 1681 (see preceding lot). The 1682 edition is decsribed by Sharrock as a "corrupt reprint" of the real fifth edition.
In addition to the 13 engravings advertised by Ponder, the present copy contains an extra engraving, the eighth in the series, showing Christian fighting Apollyon, which has hitherto only been found in the Pierpont Morgan copy. Similarly, the present copy has the rare state of the frontispiece with Bunyan shown leaning on his right arm, rather than his left, which Sharrock recorded as being unique to the Morgan copy. Sharrock decries the text of the Morgan copy as "swarming with blunders" and "undoubtedly spurious", believing it to be a corrupt reprint of the Lenox copy. Although it is difficult to compare the text of the Morgan copy with our own (Sharrock gives no page references for the errors he mentions), the text of our copy does not seem as debased as that described by Sharrock.
There has been some dispute as to whether the 1682 "fifth edition" was actually published by Ponder. Harrison (p. 40) cites a New York Public Library catalogue of 1929, which claims that the 1682 "fifth" edition was not issued by him, and Sharrock records that the British Library copy and that in the library of the Bunyan Meeting, Bedford, although bearing Ponder's name, "are totally unlike all other editions bearing his imprint." They are apparently printed in smaller type on inferior paper, with no marginal notes. The present copy, however, like the Lenox copy described by Sharrock, does seem to be an authentic Ponder publication, and even includes his advertisements. It is thus probable that Ponder's 1682 "fifth edition", of which this copy is an example, was quickly pirated by at least one other publisher, possibly Bradyll, for "circulation among the poorer classes", as a manuscript note in the BL copy suggests. Wing B-5567 (cites only five copies: British Library; Bibliotheque Nationale and three in America); Harrison pp.39-40 (four copies only); Sharrock pp. liii-lvi, lxxvi-lxxxi.