TRAVELS INTO SEVERAL REMOTE NATIONS OF THE WORLD. [GULLIVER'S TRAVELS].
(London: Printed for Benj. Motte, 1726). 200 x 127 mm. (7 3/4 x 5"). Usual misnumbered pages in volume I. Two volumes. FIRST EDITION, Third Issue (Teerink's "B" Edition).
Late 19th or early 20th century calf by Zaehnsdorf (stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-in), front joint of volume I neatly repaired (with joint reinforced), covers with French fillet borders, raised bands, compartments densely gilt, three black morocco labels with gilt lettering, edges gilt on the rough, gilt ruled turn-ins. With frontispiece portrait (in the second state, as usual) and six plates. Front pastedowns with circular gilt ex-libris of Fred Robinson Heryer. Teerink 291; PMM 185; Rothschild 2108. ◆Light flaking along joints, boards exposed at just the tips of the corners, spine ends lightly worn, upper cover of volume I with a red stain of no consequence at bottom, but the bindings sound and still very attractive; contents with occasional small stain, smudge, or other minor imperfection, but in excellent condition, being clean and fresh throughout.
This is the third distinct issue (all printed within two months of each other) of the first edition of probably the greatest satire in the English language. A book with the special merit of appealing to readers of every age, the work ostensibly mocks the popular travel writings of the day, but "Gulliver" was in fact a subtle but potent attack on the contemporary political situation. While most works that rely on current fashions and politics quickly become dated, this one has transcended its time to give Swift immortality because of what PMM calls his two great gifts: "a sustained logic in invention and a facility for absorbing the reader till fiction becomes reality." When the first run sold out within a week of its October 28 printing, the publisher immediately went to work to satisfy demand, with two more issues appearing before the end of the year, ours being published in December. This decoratively bound set (with its forgivable faults) is meant to be particularly appealing because of its advantageous price. (ST17835)