Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World

In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First Surgeon and then a Captain of Several Ships.

SWIFT, Jonathan

WITH THE RARE FIRST STATE PORTRAIT

SWIFT, Jonathan Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First Surgeon and then a Captain of Several Ships.

Benj. Motte, 1726.

First edition, first printing (i.e. Teerink A). Frontispiece portrait of Gulliver in the very rare first state, with the inscription beneath the portrait rather than around it. Four maps and two plans. Original trade binding of panelled calf, spines numbered in gilt, edges speckled red. Housed in a brown quarter-morocco box with chemise. A near fine set, which shows minor wear to the binding, with short splits to the top of the joints. Early manuscript addition of a verse by William Bowyer under the portrait and contemporary ownership name to title page. Internally fresh with a light stain to a section in vol. 1. A unusually well preserved set.

The author's masterpiece and landmark in the early development of the novel. Swift wrote Gulliver in stages from 1714. It is unclear whether it began life as an innocent fictional travel account, but certainly by completion it had developed into a political satire. As a consequence, Swift insisted on publishing the novel anonymously through the London publisher Benjamin Motte, who used five printing houses to rush the work into print and to counter piracy.
The success of the work was instant and the first printing sold out within a week (quickly to be followed by two further printings in 1726). Only the very earliest copies of the first printing were issued with this frontispiece, which was quickly replaced with a redesigned one to allow a Latin motto to take the place of the inscription beneath the portrait.
Copies with the first state portrait have always been rare: anecdotally, about one in every 25 first printings in commerce, or five at auction in the last 45 years. Equally sought are copies in unsophisticated contemporary bindings, so the combination here makes for one of the most desirable extant copies of this important work.

Teerink 289; PMM 185

Stock ID: 39345

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