THE DEFINITIVE TEXT

The Vicar of Wakefield: a Tale. Supposed to be written by himself ... The second Edition. Vol. I. [-II].

London: Printed for F. Newbery ... 1766.

2 vols., 12mo., wanting the terminal blank in volume I and the preliminary blank in volume II, offset from the turn-ins on first and last leaves, otherwise a good copy in contemporary sprinkled calf, neatly rebacked; early ownership inscription of F. Mourgue in each volume, and nineteenth-century bookplate of George Frederick Lees.

£850

Approximately:
US $947€966

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The Vicar of Wakefield: a Tale. Supposed to be written by himself ... The second Edition. Vol. I. [-II].

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Second edition, published two months after the first, printed by William Strahan in 1000 sets, and revised throughout by Goldsmith, with more than 450 new substantive readings, nearly all of them accepted by Arthur Friedman as authorial and admitted into the definitive Oxford text (Collected Works, 1966, volume IV). Although the next three editions also appeared in Goldsmith’s lifetime, Friedman is convinced that he did not revise any of them. ‘They contain occasional new substantive readings, [but] when Goldsmith revised [a work] he always made ... frequent and extensive changes, so that his hand is clearly visible. In these three editions the changes are ... infrequent and ... minor [and] none ... has been admitted into the edited text’ (Collected Works, IV, 11-12).

The Vicar of Wakefield, ‘one of the most frequently reprinted novels in English, manages to seem both a deliciously innocent tale and a wicked mockery of sentimentality. In its naieve, sententious, oddly endearing Dr Primrose, Goldsmith created one of the great unreliable narrators of British fiction’ (John Mullan reviewing Brothers of the Quill: Oliver Goldsmith in Grub Street by Norma Clark).

Roscoe A200 (3).

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