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

Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World… By Lemuel Gulliver…
Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts, By Lemuel Gulliver, first a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships.

London: Benjamin Motte, at the Middle-Temple-Gate in Fleet-street, [28 October] 1726.

Four parts in two volumes, octavo; portrait of Gulliver by John Sturt engraved by Robert Sheppard and six engraved plates, five of them maps, by H. Moll; a fine set in 19th-century polished calf gilt, spine gilt between raised bands, green lettering pieces, triple fillet border on sides, marbled endpapers with gilt dentelle borders, gilt edges; binding by Francis Bedford with his stamp.

The true first edition of Gulliver's Travels

First edition, first issue (Teerink "A"), with the portrait in second state as is more usual. This is a fine copy of one of the greatest of all works of English (and travel) literature. From its first publication the success of Gulliver was immediate and sustained, its influence enormous. Gove knows of over one hundred eighteenth century editions and there have been countless since. Although it had its famous detractors (notably Samuel Johnson's famously dismissive 'When once you have thought of the big men and little men, it is very easy to do all the rest') it has become one of the best loved and most immediately recognizable works of fiction. No one was more surprised by this than Swift himself, who had said to Pope that the satire would never be published until 'a printer shall be found brave enough to venture his ears'.

First edition, first issue (Teerink "A"), with the portrait in second state as is more usual. This is a fine copy of one of the greatest of all works of English (and travel) literature. From its first publication the success of Gulliver was immediate and sustained, its influence enormous. Gove knows of over one hundred eighteenth century editions and there have been countless since. Although it had its famous detractors (notably Samuel Johnson's famously dismissive 'When once you have thought of the big men and little men, it is very easy to do all the rest') it has become one of the best loved and most immediately recognizable works of fiction. No one was more surprised by this than Swift himself, who had said to Pope that the satire would never be published until 'a printer shall be found brave enough to venture his ears'.

"Gulliver's Travels has given Swift an immortality beyond Temporary Fame" (Printing and the Mind of Man). Gulliver is one of the most famous English books of all time, and also the greatest work of literature associated with Australia. It is a crucial work in the Imaginary Voyage tradition, particularly for its use of a series of realistic framing devices which include maps, an editorial comment that the work has been greatly reduced by the omission of most of the material relating to winds and tides, and reference to genuine sailors such as Dampier or their props, such as Sanson's Atlas. Gulliver, who is made a cousin of William Dampier, comments at one point that he was 'coasting New Holland', and at another that he has been 'driven by a violent storm to the north-west of Van Diemen's Land' -- in the very year (1699) that Dampier was in fact exploring the Australian northwest. Gulliver is quite precise in his mapping of the lands he visits, and as Davidson notes, 'With a latitude given as 30°2' south, the imaginary Lilliput… is placed somewhere in South Australia, probably near the isles of St Francis and St Peter at the eastern end of the Great Australian Bight'.

The frontispiece portrait of Gulliver here is in the second, more frequently found, of two states (with the inscription "Captain Lemuel Gulliver of Redriff. Ætat. suæ LVIII." around the oval and the tablet bearing a Latin inscription, printed on paper with vertical chain-lines).

It is uncertain when exactly Swift (1667-1745) started writing Gulliver's Travels, but some sources suggest as early as 1713 when Swift, Gay, Pope, Arbuthnot and others formed the Scriblerus Club, with the aim of satirising popular literary genres. Swift, runs the theory, was charged with writing the memoirs of the club's imaginary author, Martinus Scriblerus, and also with satirising the "travellers' tales" literary sub-genre. It is known from Swift's correspondence that the composition proper began in 1720 with the mirror- themed parts I and II written first, Part IV following in 1723 and Part III in 1724; but amendments were made even while Swift was writing Drapier's Letters. By August 1725 the book was complete; and as Gulliver's Travels was a transparently anti-Whig satire, it is likely that Swift had the manuscript copied so that his handwriting could not be used as evidence if a prosecution should arise, as had happened in the case of his Irish pamphlets. In March 1726 Swift travelled to London to have his work published; the manuscript was secretly delivered to the publisher Benjamin Motte, who used five printing houses to speed production and avoid piracy. Motte, recognising a best-seller but fearing prosecution, cut or altered the worst offending passages (such as the descriptions of the court contests in Lilliput and the rebellion of Lindalino), added some material in defence of Queen Anne to book II, and published it. The first edition was released in two volumes on 28 October 1726, priced at 8s. 6d.

The book was an instant sensation and sold out its first run in less than a week. It was immediately acclaimed, and it has been widely read ever since, both as a bitter satire and as a fantasy for children. Of his many publications, all but one published anonymously, Gulliver's Travels was the only one for which the author received any payment. Although at first castigated, and revealed as a misanthropic narrator, Gulliver was recast as a parody after critics surmised the source of his name – a portmanteau word, or merger of "gullible" and "traveller". Achieving what the "gullible traveller" assumes to be utopia in the horse-land of the Houyhnhnms, Gulliver loses his objectivity, deserts his family, and moves into the stable to live with horses, whom his distorted value system now prefers as superior to humanity. The novel's striking success is testified by a letter of 17 November 1726 by John Gay (Correspondence vol. III, p. 182): "About ten days ago a Book was published here of the Travels of one Gulliver, which hath been the conversation of the whole town... From the highest to the lowest it is universally read, from the Cabinet-council to the Nursery". Gulliver's Travels has ascended to the final apotheosis of a satirical fable, but it has also become a timeless tale for children.

Provenance: Ralph Clutton (died 1888, bookplate).

Davidson, 'A Book Collector's Notes', pp. 39-40; ESTC, T139451; Printing and the Mind of Man, 185; Rothschild, 2104; Teerink, 289 "A" edition.

Price (AUD): $87,500.00

US$64,984.57   Other currencies

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