POPE ANTAGONIZED

The Posthumous Works … in Prose and Verse. Faithfully publish’d from his original Manuscripts, by Mr. Theobald. In two Parts. To which are prefixed, some memoirs of Mr. Wycherley’s Life. By Major Pack.

London: Printed for A. Bettesworth, J. Osborn, W. Mears, W. and J. Innys, J. Peele, T. Woodward; and F. Clay. 1728.

8vo., pp. 14, 80, 240, [4]; the odd signature somewhat browned, 3 words scored through on p. 238 by a prudish reader, else a fine copy in attractive contemporary panelled speckled calf, paper label lettered by hand; early armorial bookplate of William Trumbull, Esq. (1708-1760), whose father was a friend of Pope.

£850

Approximately:
US $0€0

Make an enquiry

First edition of an important collection, comprising 308 maxims, one short essay and a large number of previously unpublished poems (the third paginated sequence), based on manuscripts acquired from Captain Thomas Shrimpton, Wycherley’s sole executor.

In 1706 Wycherley had asked the young Alexander Pope for his assistance in selecting and revising poems from his Miscellany Poems of 1704, for republication with new material in a second volume. Pope undertook the task, with justified misgivings – Wycherley was losing his memory and was resistant to Pope’s suggestions of judicious pruning. The work stuttered; ‘no volume was published in Wycherley’s lifetime, because Wycherley entirely underestimated the degree of revision and editing necessary for the task. Pope laboured hard over the poetry, and was rewarded only with the name of Wycherley’s Crutch, and with the old man’s anger at the extent of his revisions’ (Oxford DNB).

Soon after Wycherley’s death in 1716 the papers were purchased ‘at a considerable Expense’ from Shrimpton, and were described as ‘being very much interlined, and in general, being very difficult to be read’ (‘To the Reader’). Wycherley had taken great care to keep his surviving manuscripts very neat: those acquired from Shrimpton were of course the papers on which Pope had been working, and contained much of his own writing as well as editorial ‘contributions’ by Theobald. In response to Theobald’s publication of Wycherley’s Posthumous Works, Pope published his own retaliatory ‘Volume II’ in 1729, apparently suppressed and now very rare (BL, Bodley and the New York Public Library only). In it he defended himself, corrected Wycherley’s text and attacked Theobald. It includes an annotated ‘Table of contents’ to the present volume, marking 17 poems that he had revised.

Foxon, p. 906; Griffith 207.

You may also be interested in...

A WORDSWORTH RARITY WORDSWORTH, William.

A Letter to a Friend of Robert Burns: occasioned by an intended Republication of the Account of the Life of Burns, by Dr. Currie; and of the Selection made by him from his Letters …

First edition. James Currie’s Works of Burns with a life and letters was first published in 1800 and several times reprinted and enlarged.

Read more

WITH CONTRIBUTIONS BY SOUTHEY AND SCOTT LEWIS, Matthew Gregory.

Tales of Wonder; written and collected by M. G. Lewis ... in two Volumes.

First edition. Because of the lavish format and high publication price (one guinea) the wits nicknamed this ‘Tales of Plunder’. Three ballads by Walter Scott first appear here: ‘The Fire-King’, ‘Glenfinlas’, and ‘Frederick and Alice’ (a free translation from Goethe), as well as a revised version of ‘The Wild Huntsman’ (from Bürger). Southey’s contributions are ‘The Old Woman of Berkeley’, ‘Bishop Bruno’, ‘Lord William’, ‘The Painter of Florence’, ‘Donica’, ‘Cornelius Agrippa’s Bloody Book’, and ‘Rudiger’. The publication was so delayed that Scott published his satirical Apology for Tales of Terror before it had appeared.

Read more