THE SMALL OCTAVO WORKS

The Works … Vol. I[-VI]. With explanatory Notes and Additions never before printed.

London, Printed for B. Lintot, 1736 [Vol. II. Printed for L. Gilliver 1735; Vol. III. Printed for H. Lintot, 1736; Vol. IV. Printed for L. Gilliver, and J. Clarke 1736; Vols V-VI. Printed for J. Roberts 1737; Vol. II. Part II. Printed for R. Dodsley

Seven volumes (the volume labelled ‘VII’ being ‘Vol II. Part II’), small 8vo.; with a portrait frontispiece in volume I, half-titles in vols. II, III, V and II Part II, and an errata leaf at the end of II Part II, but without the leaf ‘To the Binder’ in vol. II; pp. 1-46 of vol. VI are bound at the end of vol. V (to make the volumes of similar dimension); a fine set in contemporary speckled calf, spines numbered direct, morocco labels (two wanting); contemporary armorial bookplate of Robert Gordon Esq. of Hallhead.

£1750

Approximately:
US $2340€1982

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A fine set of the small octavo Works - Pope's preferred format - including the scarce supplementary Vol II. Part II.

These sets were by no means cheap reprints of the folio and octavo formats, as Pope actually preferred the ‘neat little octavos’, for both aesthetic and financial reasons, and they went through four to six editions each. ‘Apart from restoring the traditional use of italic in them, Pope used successive editions to make significant revisions in the accidentals as well as the substantives of his text; and we know that he read proof for the volumes published for Lintot as well as those of his own printer and publishers’ (Foxon, Pope and the Early Eighteenth Century Book Trade).

It is publication of some bibliographical complexity. ‘The publishers appear to have planned at first to make this small octavo edition of Pope’s Works a four volume set. Gilliver set the form by printing his small octavo Works, vol. II, and the Dunciad (vol IV) as two “pocket volumes.” Then Lintot came into the undertaking, and re-printed what he had the copyright in – the Works [I] of 1717 – and some additional poems, as two more “pocket volumes.” ’ (Griffith). Volumes V and VI, printed for Roberts but ‘really prepared by Cooper (or possibly by Dodsley)’ and comprising the Letters, followed in 1737, and were evidently prepared with Pope’s participation. Rounding off the set, Vol. II. Part II is also important, ‘because it is the princeps of several short poems; of some others it embodies revisions, notably of Sober Advice’ (ibid.). Six minor poems appeared here for the first time.

Here, Vols. I-II are present in the second of two very similar editions (Griffith’s ‘b’ variants), printed in the same year but from different settings of type. Vols III-VI are first editions. Vol II. Part II is a second edition unknown to Griffith, who described a more complicated volume with cancels. Here pagination and signatures are continuous and there is an errata leaf. Of this latter volume ESTC shows only six copies in 4 locations (confusing matters by giving, erroneously, ‘Dublin’ as the place of publication).

A very good copy indeed of a coherent and complete set in attractive contemporary condition, and scarce thus.

Griffith 414 (‘b’); 389 (‘b’); 417 (‘a’); 431 (‘a’); 461; and cf. 507 (a variant).

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