An Introduction to: A Proposal for Correcting, Improving, and Ascertaining the English Tongue
- Abbreviated title
- A proposal for correcting, improving and ascertaining the English tongue
- JSA Identification Number
- Teerink/Scouten Number
- ESTC Number
- 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 187-207.
- Dublin, Faulkner, George, 1735.
This Pr oposal was first published on 17 May 1712 by Swift’s regular bookseller, Benjamin Tooke. It was reprinted in the first volume of Miscellanies in 1727, from which this text is taken. A corrected copy of Miscellanies (1727) survives in the library of Trinity College Cambridge, and similar corrections have been made in this Works text. Most of the revisions are verbal polishing (‘on such like’ for ‘on the like’, ‘thither’ for ‘there’, ‘full of those Manglings’ for ‘Stuffed with those kinds of Manglings’), though ‘From the Civil War’ is replaced by ‘From that great Rebellion’, providing a royalist approach.
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. iv, pp. 3-21, 285-7; Irvin Ehrenpeis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. ii, pp. 542-9, vol. iii, pp. 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.