An Introduction to: Public Absurdities in England
- Abbreviated title
- Public absurdities in England
- JSA Identification Number
- Teerink/Scouten Number
- ESTC Number
- Copy and its Location
- CUL , Hib.5.768.24
- Publisher and Printer
- Volume XII. of the author’s works. Collected and revised by Deane Swift, Esq. of Goodrich in Herefordshire, Vol. 12, pp 185-190.
- Dublin, Faulkner, George, 1765.
Deane Swift was the first to print this work, in his Works of 1765, and Faulkner follows him closely. An autograph working manuscript draft is in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Davis reports that ‘Swift’s peculiarities of spelling and punctuation are modified and his capitalization eliminated’ in this printing, which is what one would expect in following an edition which, from Hawkesworth’s editing in 1755, had been modernized.
Deane Swift (1707-83) was doubly linked to Swift by family ties. His father, also Deane Swift, was Swift’s Cousin, the son of Godwin Swift, who had supported Swift’s education. He married Mary, the daughter of Martha Whiteway, also Swift’s cousin and one of the people who cared for him in later life. He was on good terms with Swift in the 1730s (Swift praised him in a letter to Pope), and he later wrote An Essay upon the Life, Writings, and Character of Dr. Jonathan Swift (1755), an important biographical study, in response to Orrery’s negative study. Mrs Whiteway inherited many of Swift’s manuscripts, and Deane Swift was able to draw on this collection when he revised Hawkesworth’s edition of Swift in 1765
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. v, pp. 79-82, 349-50; 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.