An Essay on Man. Address’d to a Friend. Part I [with all parts]
first editionPot folio (12 5/8â€ x 7 7/8â€, 320mm x 201mm): A2 B-E2 _1(viz. 3E2?) 2A2(A1+_a2) 2B-D2 2E2(â€“2E2) 3A2 3B-D2 3E2(â€“E2) 4A2 4B
by [Pope, Alexander]
London: Printed for J. Wilford, 1733. First edition, first issue (Griffith issue B, simultaneous with issue A; see below). Bound with… [Ibid.]. An Essay on Man. In Epistles to a Friend. Epistle I. Corrected by the Author. London: Printed for J. Wilford, . Second edition, first issue (cf. Griffith issue I, the first with “Epistle” for “Part”). And… [Ibid.]. An Essay on Man. In Epistles to a Friend. Epistle II. London: Printed for J. Wilford, . First edition, first issue (cf. Griffith issue L; with “only Science” for “proper study” in vs. 2). And… [Ibid.]. An Essay on Man. In Epistles to a Friend. Epistle III. London: Printed for J. Wilford, . First edition, first issue (cf. Griffith issue Q). And finally…[Ibid.], An Essay on Man. In Epistles to a Friend. Epistle IV. London: Printed for J. Wilford, . First edition, first issue (Griffith issue Ua). Pot folio (12 5/8” x 7 7/8”, 320mm x 201mm): A2 B-E2 _1(viz. 3E2?) 2A2(A1+_a2) 2B-D2 2E2(–2E2) 3A2 3B-D2 3E2(–E2) 4A2 4B-E2 5A2 5B-F2. 53 leaves, pp. 1-5 6-19, blank, half-title (to Epistle II), blank, 21-7 28 25-11 11 213-17, blank, 31-5 36-18, 41-5 46-20, , 51 52-16 71 518, , blank [=106]. Hardcover. Near fine. [1733-1734]. Bound in late-XIXc (?) crushed green morocco, re-backed with crushed blue morocco. Double gilt-fillet border, double gilt-fillet on edges of covers, gilt inside dentelle. Six raised bands with gilt vertical strokes. In the panels, triple gilt border top-and-bottom, outermost leaves, and gilt flower central ornament. Title gilt in second panel. All edges gilt. Presented in a custom slip-case with chemise. Slight wear to fore-corners. Re-backed. Nick to rear cover. Mild tanning to periphery of end-papers. First item with residual transverse crease at middle. Paper unusually bright, almost entirely devoid of foxing. A fine copy. Book-plate of Alfred Edward Newton on front paste-down. Presented with additional materials: 1. Typed letter on Newton’s headed paper, signed; most amusing. 2. A clipped bibliographic description of the item (before its repair but after the Newton sale, largely verbatim from that sale’s catalogue) – but from what catalogue? 3. An invoice from Dauber & Pine Bookshops, dated 10/5/37, for the purchase of a different item, but presumably belonging to a previous owner of the book: Martin J. Keogh Jr., one of the first captains in the Air Force and a lawyer living on the Upper East Side of New York. 4. A folded but unbound pamphlet of 12 leaves, with bibliographic descriptions of the items, typed with some manuscript corrections and additions. The pamphlet claims that the item has been collated with the Ashley Library Catalogue, Volume 4. Pope’s great optimistic-philosophical didactic poem An Essay on Man was widely admired and emulated throughout Europe; Voltaire, Rousseau and Leibniz are among its admirers (although the former two later renounced it). In it, the great translator of Homer explores the relation of man to the divine. In it are some of the most quoted and cited lines in English; to wit: “Know then Thy-self, presume not God to scan; The only Science of Mankind is Man. Plac’d on this Isthmus of a Middle State, A Being darkly wise, and rudely great: With to much knowledge for the Sceptic Side, With too much Weakness for a Stoic’s Pride, / He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest, / To deem himself a Part of God, or Beast; / In doubt, his Mind or Body to prefer, / Born but to die, and reas’ning but to err; / Alike in Ignorance, his reason such, / Whether he thinks to little, or too much.” (Epistle II, vss. 1-11; 3B1r-v.) The printing history of the Essay is contorted, and Griffith’s bibliography, now nearing one hundred, is still the authority on it. The five items bound up in the present volume chart this publication history closely (perhaps why Newton purchased it). The poem’s first part (not yet called an epistle though it is one), is Griffith’s issue B, which was simply the ordinary-size folio printed, Griffith writes, simultaneously with issue A (a large-paper folio: 20 February 1733) and from the same type. The transverse crease attests to the slimness of the issue; it could be folded in half and put in a pocket or a pocket-book. All the remaining items line up with the format of the first; i.e., they are ordinary size folios, although in all cases Griffith recognizes only the large-paper format – thus they are described as “like” Griffith issues. Either there were simultaneous issues of ordinary folios in all cases or the remaining items have been (rather substantially) trimmed. The second item, Epistle I – now for the first time called an epistle, and containing reference to the second and third epistles – is like Griffith issue I, the first issue to do so. It is the heir to issue A/B, in that it was likely set up from a marked copy (as attested by Corrected by the Author in the title) of issue A. The half-title placed before the item is in fact from Epistle II (it was never issued with a half-title). It shares the unusual collation (with an interpolated signature a in the middle of A) and consequent irregularities in pagination as the true issue I. The third item, Epistle II, is like Griffith issue L (the first edition of Epistle II). It shares all the errors of lineation with the true issue L.The fourth item, Epistle III, is like Griffith issue Q (the first edition of Epistle III). Issue Q was published 17 May – though apparently on sale a week previous – and the present item has all the errors of lineation of the true issue Q. The fifth and final item, Epistle IV, which appeared on 24 January 1734, is like Griffith issue Ua (the first edition of Epistle IV). Griffith is aware of copies on thick paper in addition to the large-paper folio copies (an uncut leaf of which measures 14 5/8” x 9 1/2”). The great book-collector (and author and publisher) Alfred Edward Newton (†1940) was doubtless drawn to the bibliographic puzzle of the Essay, and he privately printed a brief monograph on Pope (Pope, Poetry and Portrait, 1936), which I have not alas been able to find in the flesh. His 1918 book The Amenities of Book-Collecting and Kindred Afflictions was a run-away best-seller. The letter enclosed is typical of his wit. Rare books, original drawings, autograph letters and manuscripts, collected by the late A. Edward Newton, removed from his home, Oak Knoll, Daylesford, Pa. Three volumes. New York: Maynard Printing, 1941: III.84. Griffith, Reginald Harvey. Alexander Pope. A bibliography. Two volumes. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1922: 295, 307, 300, 308, 331 (Issues B, I, L, Q, Ua).Grolier, English 100, 43; Hayward 148; Rothschild 1613; Foxon P. 824, 833, 844, 845. Antiquarian
(Inventory #: 85884)
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