Miscellanea Aurea: or the Golden Medley … [including:] The Fortunate Shipwreck, or a Description of New Athens, being an Account of the Laws, Manners, Religion, and Customs of that Country; by Morris Williams, Gent. Who resided there above Twenty Years…. Thomas KILLIGREW.
Miscellanea Aurea: or the Golden Medley … [including:] The Fortunate Shipwreck, or a Description of New Athens, being an Account of the Laws, Manners, Religion, and Customs of that Country; by Morris Williams, Gent. Who resided there above Twenty Years…

Miscellanea Aurea: or the Golden Medley…
Miscellanea Aurea: or the Golden Medley … [including:] The Fortunate Shipwreck, or a Description of New Athens, being an Account of the Laws, Manners, Religion, and Customs of that Country; by Morris Williams, Gent. Who resided there above Twenty Years…

London: Bettesworth and Pemberton, 1720.

Octavo; a very good copy in contemporary sheep, repairs to head and tail of spine.

Twenty years in Terra Australis incognita

Rare: a particularly attractive copy of this remarkable and frequently quite scandalous early Georgian collection of stories and essays which includes an important and often overlooked imaginative account of being 'cast away on the Southern Coast' of the Terra Australis, published just one year after Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. This Australian story is the centrepiece: titled 'The Fortunate Shipwreck, or a Description of New Athens,' it is a utopian fiction boldly set in the remotest reaches of the great south land. The hero of the story journeys through a utopian community founded by ancient Greeks, who are said to have travelled for three years through deserts 'and the like,' until they reached this Australian continent, where they peacefully integrated with the original inhabitants and establishing a kingdom free from the greed and malice of Europe. The visitors soon teach the New Athenians the art of printing and the manufacture of gunpowder.

Rare: a particularly attractive copy of this remarkable and frequently quite scandalous early Georgian collection of stories and essays which includes an important and often overlooked imaginative account of being 'cast away on the Southern Coast' of the Terra Australis, published just one year after Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. This Australian story is the centrepiece: titled 'The Fortunate Shipwreck, or a Description of New Athens,' it is a utopian fiction boldly set in the remotest reaches of the great south land. The hero of the story journeys through a utopian community founded by ancient Greeks, who are said to have travelled for three years through deserts 'and the like,' until they reached this Australian continent, where they peacefully integrated with the original inhabitants and establishing a kingdom free from the greed and malice of Europe. The visitors soon teach the New Athenians the art of printing and the manufacture of gunpowder.

Gove said it was very likely to have been written by Charles Gildon, known to Swift (who disliked him intensely): this hypothesis has some momentum, both because Gildon had published a critical close reading of Robinson Crusoe and had an abiding interest in the theatre, which could explain why unlike Crusoe, who famously salvaged the Bible from his wreck, the protagonist here takes along his collected works of the English dramatists. Some scholars now tend to prefer Thomas Killigrew the younger, although this rather depends on the date of composition as opposed to publication (Killigrew died in 1719).

Provenance: Robert Colman Clepham (with bookplate).

Gibson, 'St. Thomas More… with a Bibliography of Utopiana', no. 692; Gove, 'Gildon's Fortunate Shipwreck as Background for Gulliver's Travels' (1942); Negley, no. 637 (Voyage to the Mountains of the Moon only); Sargent, p. 10.

Price (AUD): $6,000.00

US$4,153.02   Other currencies

Ref: #5000475