Kevin F. Kelly, bookseller ††† phone: (845) 419-5090 ††† books@kevinkellybookseller.com

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Jonathan Swift

This list was meant to be my master work... but I'm again exposed. Looking over some of the scarce titles herein, prior to securing them, I was quite excited to make one of those really cool thematic catalogues that becomes a reference itself. The theme may still show despite my shortcomings. I've always thought Swift among my favorite literary figures, and his writings have always felt topical to me. Gulliver is justly loved by many for it's readability and charming fantastic adventure; and this contributed to it's appeal for me as I scratched a little deeper and discovered the genius of his satire. I think the most overlooked part of the story, the final voyage to the land of the Houyhnhnms, over time has fascinated me the most, as it illustrates Swift's view of the human condition which permeates all of his other fiction and satire. Of course I am not breaking new ground in making this observation, and that is why I have today dropped the elist into the vast web, without my imagined groundbreaking essay that would change the world. I could write a bunch of stuff about how Swift exposes hypocrisy and illustrates the absurdity of societies and human nature all under the beautiful or coarse veneer of fantasy or sophomoric punning, but the disinterested would get bored and real scholars would scoff at my affectation of erudition. So even though this is the only time I've ever written an introduction to a list, I'm keeping it brief. Please enjoy the list.

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The Circe of Signior Giovanni Battista Gelli of the Academy of Florence. Consisting of ten dialogues between men transform'd into beasts: Giving a lively Representation of the various passions of mankind, and the many infelicities of humane life. Done out of Italian, by Mr. Tho. Brown.

London: John Nutt, 1702. First edition of this translation by Thomas Brown. This work, particularly the dialogue with the Horse, is widely considered to be an inspiration for Swift's voyage to the land of the Houyhnhnms. Copies are very scarce in commerce. $850

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Swift, Jonathan. A Tale of a Tub Written for the Universal Improvement of Mankind… [from integral title] A full and True Account of the Battel Fought last Friday, Between the Antient and the Modern Books in St. James's Library and A discourse Concerning the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit in a Letter To a Friend. A Fragment.

London: Printed for John Nutt, 1704.

$1000

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Swift, Jonathan. The Wonderfull Wonder of Wonders; being an accurate description of the birth, education, manner of living, religion, politicks, learning, of mine a--se. By Dr. Sw-ft. London: printed from the original copy from Dublin, and sold by T. Bickerton, 1721.
The Second edition, which is the first octavo edition and the first to name Swift on the title. Aside from the popularity of Gulliver, Swift is often known for his scatological proclivities, and this title is the quintessential example of same. This whimsical scatological tract possibly concerns the proposal to establish a Bank. It is unquestionably rare in commerce: this, the Slater copy, was sold in the rooms in 1982, another copy sold in 1980, aside from the formentioned none appears in sales records since 1937. Furthermore, this copy agrees with Teerink's description in all but one perhaps important detail: there is no mention of second edition on the title; instead a two line quotation by "Jo. Haynes" appears in it's place.Teerink 906. (#kfk877) $6,500

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[Swiftiana]. [Arbuthnot, John (1667-1735)]. It cannot rain but it pours: or, London strow'd with Rarities. Being, An Account of the Arrival of a White Bear, at the House of Mr. Ratcliff in Bishopsgate-Street: As also of the Faustina, the celebrated Italian Singing Woman; And of the Copper-Farthing Dean from Ireland. And Lastly, Of the wonderful Wild Man that was nursed in the Woods of Germany by a Wild Beast London: J. Roberts, 1726.

FIRST EDITION, one of two issues by Roberts. This Scriblerian account of the wonderful Wild Man, the Yahoo-like boy named Peter who expresseth his joy most commonly by Neighing and takes vast pleasure in conversation with horses, came out in the same year as Gulliver's Travels. Swift wrote to Thomas Tickell in Dublin, 16 April 1726, reporting: This Night I saw the wild Boy, whose arrival here hath been the subject of half our Talk this fortnight. He is in the keeping of Dr. Arbuthnot, but the King and Court were so entertained with him, that the Princess could not get him till now. Virtually unknown in the market.

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[SAMUEL ROGERS, his copy] SWIFT (JONATHAN). Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World ... by Lemuel Gulliver. London, Benjamin Motte, 1726. 4 parts in 2 vol.,

Provenance: Samuel Rogers (30 July 1763- 18 December 1855)

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Swift, Jonathan. The Beasts Confession to the Priest, on observing how most men mistake their own talents. By J. S. D.S.P. [London]:: Dublin, printed: London, re-printed: and sold by T. Cooper,, 1738.
First London edition of this rare poetic fable about the limits of self-knowledge. The final line, Beasts may degen'rate into Men has an appended note reading Vide Gulliver in his Account of the Houyhnhnms .No auction sale of any edition, aside from the present copy, has been recorded since 1980.

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[Swift, Jonathan]; [Delany, Patrick]. Observations Upon Lord Orrery's Remarks on the Life and Writings of Dr. Jonathan Swift. Containing Several Singular Anecdotes Relating to the Character and Conduct of that Great Genius, and Most Deservedly Celebrated Stella. In a Series of Letters to His Lordship. To Which are Added, Two Original Pieces of the Same Author (Excellent in Their Kind) Never Before Publish'd. London: W. Reeve... and A. Linde, 1754. First Edition. Contemporary gilt-ruled speckled calf; 8vo; pp. [16], 310. Boards a bit scuffed and flaring; corners bumped. Notes on Dalkeith inked on FFEP by an early hand; later bookplate of Louis and Anne Marie Davidson on FFEP; otherwise internally clean and unmarked. An excellent copy. Very Good+. Hardcover. (#D14025)            $250.00

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Swift, Jonathan; Hawkesworth, John (notes). Letters, Written by the Late Jonathan Swift, D. D., Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin; and Several of His Friends. From the Year 1703 to 1740. Published from the Originals; with Notes Explanatory and Historical... London: R. Davis... [et al], 1766. First Edition. Contemporary calf, gilt-stamped lettering and coat of arms (Suffield family) in 1 red and 2 green leather spine labels (second, third, fifth compartments), gilt-stamped ornament in other spine compartments (5 raised bands); complete set of the first series, 3 volumes, 8vo; pp. xvi, 520; viii, 388; xvi, 520. Spines a little dry and scuffed; corners lightly bumped. A nice set from the Gunton Park Library, with the bookplates of Edward Lord Suffield; later bookplates of Louis and Anne Marie Davidson.             $450.00

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I think there will be a part two of this one....

 

 

 

 

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Kevin F. Kelly, bookseller ††† phone: (917) 582-8855 ††† books@kevinkellybookseller.com