RARE AND BEAUTIFUL 1717-41 LARGE-PAPER FOLIO FIRST EDITION OF POPE’S WORKS, BOTH POETRY AND PROSE, WITH THE FIRST APPEARANCES OF “ELOISA TO ABELARD” AND OTHER WORKS
POPE, Alexander. The Works of Mr. Alexander Pope. [Poetry.] London: Bernard Lintot, 1717; and London: Lawton Gilliver, 1735. Two volumes. WITH: The Works of Mr. Alexander Pope, in Prose. London: J. Knapton, L. Gilliver, J. Brindley and R. Dodsley, 1737; and. London: J. and P. Knapton, C. Bathurst and R. Dodsley, 1741. Two volumes. Together, four volumes. Folio, contemporary full speckled brown calf sympathetically rebacked, raised bands, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, red and green morocco spine labels.
Scarce four-volume large-paper folio first editions of Pope’s works (printed on the thickest “Royal” paper), considered by Pope “the best impressions,” with the first issue of the Poems, featuring the first appearance of “The Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard.” Bound in magnificent uniform contemporary calf bindings.
In addition to Pope’s “brilliant” Preface, his 1717 Works contains ten pieces printed for the first time, among them “A Discourse on Pastoral Poetry,” “Verses to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady,” and “The Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard.” “The ‘Discourse’ is unquestionably the earliest surviving prose work written by Pope with a view to publication’ and was probably first drafted before 1706” (Rothschild). “Windsor Forest,” “The Rape of the Lock,” and “Essay on Criticism” are also present, and Volume I contains a wonderful large copper-engraved frontispiece portrait of Pope. This set also includes the first authorized (“authentic,” to Lowndes) edition of his Works in Prose, published to agree with the previously published Poems. “Pope’s prose, even when most intimate, bears directly or indirectly upon his poetry. Accordingly, his essays range from short pieces such as the defense of his pastoral poetry to the extended critical discussions that appear in his translations of Homer and his edition of Shakespeare… The prose writings illuminate not only Pope’s poetry and personal life but also the general situation of the satirist in the early 18th century” (DLB). Pope considered these large-paper folios as “the best impressions.” First issue of the Poems, with the absence of Jacob Tonson’s name in the imprint. Published simultaneously with the first quarto and small folio editions. Griffith 83, 370, 456, 530. Rothschild 1584. Lowndes 1913.
Interiors clean and fine, with only infrequent faint foxing. Contemporary boards very lovely. A beautiful set, magnificently bound.