Abbreviated title
Thoughts on various subjects
JSA Identification Number
12_2_3
Teerink/Scouten Number
41
ESTC Number
T52771
Copy and its Location
CUL , Hib.5.735.10
Publisher and Printer
The works of J. S, D.D, D.S.P.D. in four volumes, Vol. i., pp 297-316.
Dublin, Faulkner, George, 1735.

Commentary

In reprinting the ‘Thoughts’ from the 1727 Miscellanies, Faulkner follows his copy typographically, but, probably with Swift’s encouragement, he polishes the text: ‘just enough Religion’ becomes ‘just Religion enough’; ‘he that’ becomes ‘whoever’; ‘seems to’ becomes ‘may’; and, a clear improvement, ‘Ill company is like a Dog, who Dirts those most he loves best’ is changed to end ‘who fouls those most whom he loves best’.

George Faulkner (?1703-1775) was Swift’s most important publisher and editor. In his early years Swift tended to publish his major works through the London trade, but with the Drapier’s Letters (1724) Dublin publication became more important. Faulkner, who had worked for William Bowyer in London and was a polished printer, brought out the first collected edition of the Drapier’s Letters, as Fraud Detected, in 1725, and by 1732 was planning a subscription edition of Swift’s Works. The four volumes came out in 1735, and established Faulkner as Swift’s printer. Swift, at least to some extent, and his friends had collaborated in the edition. Faulkner continued to print Swift and to enlarge his edition, which by 1771 consisted of twenty volumes.

Faulkner did his best both to date Swift’s works and to elucidate them with footnotes. His pioneering work is of first importance both for Swift’s text and for explanatory notes. For further discussion of Faulkner, see the long not in the Gulliver’s Travels volume in the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift (forthcoming), and Mary Pollard’s entry on him in her Dictionary of the Dublin Book Trade.

References: The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. i, pp. 241-5, 303; Irvin Ehrenpeis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. ii, pp. 192-3; Mary Pollard, A Dictionary of Members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800 (London: The Bibliographical Society, 2000); Mary Pollard, ‘George Faulkner’, Swift Studies, 7 (1992), 79-96.