WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF JONATHAN SWIFT

An Introduction to the History of England …

London, Printed for Richard Simpson … and Ralph Simpson … 1695

8vo., pp. [8], ‘320’ [i.e. 318], [2, advertisements]; faint damp-stain in lower margin else a very good copy in contemporary panelled calf, front joint repaired.

£450

Approximately:
US $582€497

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First edition. Newly arrived in England from Trinity College, Dublin, Swift in 1689 entered upon a ten-year period as secretary to Sir William Temple at Moor Park near Farnham in Surrey. ‘Partly thanks to Swift’s support several of Temple’s important works were published in the 1690s, notably the second part of his Miscellanea ... and … his Introduction to the History of England.’ (Oxford DNB). As usual with works by Temple printed in Swift’s time, the manuscript sent to the press was in Swift’s hand, a copy of the original incorporating Temple’s corrections (Elias, pp. 4-5). Temple in turn ‘helped his young protégé with the revision of the Tale of a Tub’.

Observing the want of ‘one good or approved general History of England’, Temple published this Introduction, to the death of William the Conqueror, ‘to invite and encourage some worthy Spirit … to pursue this Attempt … I have hereby beaten through all the rough and dark Ways of this Journey, the rest lies fair and easie through a plain and open Country…. The Architect only is wanting, and not the Materials for such a Building’.

Wing T 638; A. C. Elias, Jr., Swift at Moor Park (1982).

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First published in 1580, this is one of three closely similar 1582 editions of Ocland’s Anglorum proelia which add two works at the end: Ocland’s Eirēnarchia (a continuation of Anglorum proelia first published in 1582) and Alexander Neville’s account of the 1549 Norfolk rising, De furoribus Norfolciensium Ketto duce (first published in 1575).

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FIRST APPEARANCE IN RUSSIAN SALINGER, J.D.

Povesti. Nad propast’iu vo rzhi [Catcher in the Rye]… Rasskazyi.

First printing in Russia and first Russian translation of Catcher in the Rye (1951), together with other works by Salinger which also appear here for the first time. The translation of Salinger’s classic novel was approved by the censor, as they considered Holden Caulfield’s dissolute coming-of-age to be the perfect illustration of the manifold shortfalls of capitalism and the problems of bourgeois society. However, Caulfield’s systematic rebellion against established societal norms struck a chord with the multitude of those disenchanted with the political ideology of the Soviet Union, notwithstanding the fact that the translation was heavily censored, and it soon became a popular sensation. Catcher in the Rye represents an interesting twist on the social realism that was at the heart of the Soviet literary aesthetic; the Soviet hero had to be revolutionary, or at least a builder of the communistic future. In contrast, Holden Caulfield is deeply anguished and hopeless, an anti-hero. Intriguingly this places Caulfield firmly in sympathy with the Russian literary tradition of the 19th century, where the ‘hero’ is frequent deeply flawed, even depressed, à la Dostoevsky, or Goncharov.
This literary legacy is further cemented by the language of the translation. By Rita Rait-Kovaleva, a stalwart of the Soviet School of translation, this was the only authorized translation of CITR during the Soviet Union era. Unable to convince the editor to let her include Salinger’s frequent obscenities which are wholly omitted, she adopts an overall philosophy of domesticating the ‘Americanness’ of the work to suit its Russian audience, in the process making it seem much more of a literary work, which can in turn be interpreted as an act of rebellion. Suffering from the usual Soviet writer’s problem of being unable to write unrestricted, by creating a connection between this anti-hero and the great literature of the past, she arguably shows her own dissatisfaction with the Soviet modus vivendi. Her translation of the title as ‘Над пропастью во ржи’ [Over the abyss in the rye] was to give rise to the Soviet phrase ‘Пропаст капитализма’ [the abyss of capitalism]. Thus rendered, the title shifts the emphasis from Caulfield’s desire to be a catcher and protect little children from falling from the loss-of-innocence cliff, to the abyss itself. The choice of cover illustration, a boy standing gazing sideways into the invisible distance, is suitably liminal.
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For analysis of Catcher in the Rye and its translations into Russian and Ukrainian in historical perspective, see Nataliya M. Rudnytska, Soviet Censorship and Translation in Contemporary Ukraine and Russia. In Translation Journal, Volume 17, No. 2, April 2013.

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