Abbreviated title
The last will and testament of Jonathan Swift
JSA Identification Number
12_31_1
Teerink/Scouten Number
44
ESTC Number
T52746
Copy and its Location
,
Publisher and Printer
Volume VIII. Of the Author's Works, Containing Directions to Servants; and Other pieces in Prose and Verse, published in his life-time; with several poems, letters and other pieces never before printed, Vol. 8, pp (i-viii).
Dublin, Faulkner, George, 1746.

Commentary

Swift’s Will has not survived. It was printed by Faulkner on a half-sheet, which then became bound in with the Works. This text has the reading ‘vindicatorem’ for Swift’s tablet; the London emendation ‘vindicem’, though it may be classical Latin, is without authority.

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 note in the Gulliver’s Travels volume in the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift, and Mary Pollard’s entry on him in her Dictionary of Members 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. xiii, pp. 147-58, 223-4; Irvin Ehrenpreis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. iii, pp. 655, 903-4; 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.