AN UNRECOGNISED ENGLISH PRINTING

Lettres ecrites par le tres-honorable … Comte de Chesterfield, a son Fils, Philippe Stanhope … avec plusieurs autres Pieces sur divers Sujets. Publiées par Madame Eugenie Stanhope, d’après l’Original en sa Possession. En cinq Volumes …

A Paris, chez Panckoucke [but probably printed in London]. 1775.

Five vols., 12mo.; pp. 20-21 in volume V soiled (dropped in the mud?), else a fine copy, in attractive contemporary comb-patterned calf, spines gilt in compartments, red morocco label; contemporary ownership inscriptions of Gowan Gillmor (within a window in the pastedowns at the front and rear of each volume).

£950

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Lettres ecrites par le tres-honorable … Comte de Chesterfield, a son Fils, Philippe Stanhope … avec plusieurs autres Pieces sur divers Sujets. Publiées par Madame Eugenie Stanhope, d’après l’Original en sa Possession. En cinq Volumes …

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First edition in French of Chesterfield’s famous Letters to his Son (1774). Although not recognized as such by Gulick (and not listed in ESTC), this is almost certainly an English production; press figures appear throughout all five volumes, the typography and disposition is generally English in feel, and there are scattered grammatical and typographical errors perhaps unlikely from a native French printer, e.g. ‘Fin du cinquieme et dernier volume’.

Chesterfield’s great repository of homiletic courtesy and worldy wisdom, in a series of private letters of advice to his natural son over a period of thirty years, was never originally intended for publication, and aroused wildly varying opinions on its publication a year after his death. Johnson was very cutting, Walpole thought them surprisingly heartfelt. A proportion of the original letters had been in French, which made the swift publication of this translation all the easier. A Choix de Lettres, translated by Peyron, was published in the following year, but the present translator has not been identified; his source text, according to Gulick, was the second or third edition.

Gulick 39.

E

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