Item Details

Essay Upon Wind: With Curious Anecdotes of Eminent Peteurs.

Potsdam/London: Office of Peter Puffendorf, nd [cira 1800]. Limited Edition. Hardcover. "A remarkable jeu d'esprit, in the scatalogical manner of Swift and his imitators, and persistently attributed to the eminent English politician Charles James Fox, whose good-humored dissipations were notorious. "This copy is printed on vellum; the printed notice of limitation on the verso of the title-page reads, "Of this volume fifty copies only are printed," to which an early hand has added in pencil, "on paper, and 2 on vellum." The text begins with a facetious dedication to the Lord Chancellor (Lord Thorlow): "I have heard, from several of your brother peers, that your lordship farts, without reserve, when seated upon the woolsack, in a full assembly of nobles." A following note ("anticipation") informs the curious reader that "the following singular essay was written, and published, for a considerable wager." The essay itself, called "An Essay upon Farting," is addressed to the Secretary of the Agricultural and Philosophical Societies in an unnamed place, and is dated Monteuil, December 23, 1783. There follows a mock-scholarly discussion of five kinds of exhalation, the sonorous and full-toned, or rousing fart, the double fart, the soft fizzing fart, the wet fart, and the sullen wind-bound fart. The essay is signed "Van Trump," and is followed by a short postscript, and a longer appendix, with its own fly-title, called, "After thoughts upon farting; shewing its great utility: with curious anecdotes of eminent farters." The printing history of this text is obscure. At the Pennsylvania Historical Society is what appears to be a unique copy dated 1787, with vii(1), 39 pp., "printed and sold by all the booksellers in town and country." At Harvard is another edition, called "An Essay upon Farting," with the same pagination, and curiously dated "MDCCLXXVII;" this pamphlet was printed in London for G. Ledger of Dover, "and sold by all the booksellers in town and country under the title of An Essay upon Wind." Ledger was in fact a bookseller in Dover, and his name appears in at least a dozen imprints from 1786 to 1799. Of the present edition the ESTC (01/04) records three copies (O; CU-SB, NSyU), to which OCLC adds one more (CtY, but "52 pp."), and NUC possibly a fifth (IEN). None of these is reported to be on vellum. The ESTC dates this printing ca. 1800; it is certainly no earlier, as the new-style "s" is used throughout; very likely it was produced before Fox's death in 1809. An early manuscript note on the front flyleaf reads as follows: "Of this volume written by Charles Fox for a wager, and dedicated to Lord Chancellow Thurlow, only fifty copies were printed on paper, & two upon vellum. 2312. Bohn's English Catalogue. 1829. Hibbert's sale five pounds." George Hibbert's large library was in fact sold in 1829. though I believe there were 12 copies on vellum (as we have sold to recently and know the location of at leas 3-4 in institutional clients. Inserted at the front is a portrait of Fox, dated 1798; later bookplates of Frederic R. Kirkland and Ray Norr. Kirkland was a noted collector who's collection was sold by Parke-Bernet Galleries in 1962. Norr was also a well known collector (who's bookplate was create by one of the greats of the period), though he is best known as a whistle blower in the tobacco case. Near Fine. Item #9164 Light shelf/edge wear, hinges show minor cracking, owner bookplates, pencil notations, rebound, else tight, bright, and unmarred. Full red leather binding, five raised bands, gilt lettering, in blind decorative elements, marbled endpapers, teg, engraved frontispiece tipped in, full vellum. 8vo. 56pp. Illus. (b/w plates). Limited edition of 12 copies on vellum in addition to broader edition of 50 on paper.
Price: $8,500.00     Item #9164
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