Abbreviated title
A letter to a very young lady on her marriage
JSA Identification Number
3_4_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 243-256.
Dublin, Faulkner, George, 1735.

Commentary

Faulkner’s reprinting of Swift’s Letter evidently follows the Miscellenies of 1727, incorporating some of its minor corrections. The autograph manuscript of this letter survives in the Huntington Library, dated 11 February 1723. The printing in the Miscellanies makes some alterations from the text of the surviving manuscript, but it is closer to it than this Faulkner 1735 text. So, for example, in discussing how to deal with a husband the text moves through ‘engage with high Hand’ (manuscript) to ‘engage with a high Hand’ (Miscellanies) to ‘engage him with a high Hand’ (Works); the word ‘uncapable’ survives the Miscellanies, but gets changed to ‘incapable’ in the Works; and so does ‘which is a Task I take myself to be not ill qualified for’, which eventually becomes ‘a Task for which I take myself to be not ill qualified’. Swift took this opportunity to make his text more correct. The printing is in the usual style of the 1735 Works, with paragraphs beginning with small capitals, capitals for nouns, and use of italics.

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.

References: The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. ix, pp. 83-94, 373-5; Irvin Ehrenpeis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. iii, pp. 396-404, 779-90; 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.