(London: Printed for John Dunton at the Raven in the Poultrey, 1694). 183 x 104 mm. (7 1/4 x 4 1/2"). 4 p.l., 240, 161-352, 301-484, 401-528 pp. (i.e., 744 pp., as noted in 18th century bookseller's declaration on flyleaf). FIRST EDITION.
Attractive period-style calf by Richard Smart, cover with blind-ruled borders, blind-stamped floral tools at corners, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with intricate lozenge centerpieces and scrolling cornerpieces, red morocco label, endleaves of period paper. Recto of front flyleaf with pasted-on "Memoriae Causa" dated Friday, 15 March 1782, noting the errors in page numbering, and attesting that the work is complete and is 744 pp.; verso of flyleaf with pasted-on manuscript bookseller's description in the same hand. Wing H-99; ESTC R6632. Overall minor browning (due to paper stock), never offensive, occasional minor foxing, smudges, rust spots, or tiny burn holes, but a very good copy internally, generally clean and crisp, in a fine new replica binding.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman of marriageable age must be in want of a book telling her how to get a husband, and our anonymous 17th century author is here to help, with advice on beauty, fashion, deportment, and, of course, love, courtship, and marriage. Drawing on the confidences of female friends, the advice they have shared with him, and "MY OWN EXPERIENCE IN LOVE AFFAIRS" (capitals in original), "N. H." provides, in roughly alphabetical order, everything from the meaning and etymology of females names and brief biographies of famous or infamous women from history and legend to recipes for beauty concoctions, candies and preserves, and home remedies. He addresses in depth the characteristics and duties of a good husband and wife, the problems that may arise in a marriage (the Indifference of Husbands, Jealousy, Inconstancy), the pleasures and dangers of Kissing, and the day-to-day concerns of Keeping House and managing Household Expenses. It is especially interesting that the text addresses topics of concern for women of different classes. For example, the entries on Laundresses and House-maids do not, as we might expect, offer advice to women of means on managing servants, but are addressed to young women who go into service, letting them know what to expect and how to succeed. We can scarcely improve upon the description of our 18th century colleague, whose pasted-in description observes: "After an attentive Perusal of the Work, . . . the Judgement and Opinion of the Proprietor concerning the whole is: That for the many rare Secrets, excellent Directions in Conduct & Behavior, notable Counsels in Morals, Religious & Pious Documents, remarkable Relations, & other singular matters it contains; 'tis richly worth far above its original Value, . . . as 'tis very Scarce & out of Print." Copies are not commonly seen in the marketplace, and when they do appear, they are usually in unfortunate condition. (ST15644)
Add to Cart Price: $9,500.00
PJP Catalog: NY20BF.091