Item #65395 Essay on Man. Address'd to a Friend. Alexander POPE.
Essay on Man. Address'd to a Friend.
Essay on Man. Address'd to a Friend.

Essay on Man. Address'd to a Friend. Part I.

London: J. Wilford, 1733.

Two Large-Paper Copies of An Essay on Man

[POPE, Alexander]. An Essay on Man. Address'd to a Friend. Part I. London: J. Wilford, [1733].

First edition. Large paper copy, first issue according to Wise (second issue according to Griffith). Folio (14 3/4 x 9 3/8 inches; 375 x 241 mm.) 9 ll. with woodcut title ornament, decorative initials and head- and tail-pieces. No half-tile issued. Bound without B2 (p. 7/8) as is correct for Griffith's second issue. Disbound and sewn, gilt edges. Two small marginal tears and some light marginal chipping to title page edges. A very tall copy (a quarter of an inch taller than the Rothschild large-paper copy). Chemised and housed with the following in cloth slipcase.

From the library of E. Hubert Litchfield and sold by Parke-Bernett in December, 1951, lot 753 (and removed from its binding at that time). Purchased (with the following) from John F. Fleming, November 11, 1966 by Abel E. Berland with his bookplate.

Wise Ashley IV, p. 38. Foxon P822. Griffith 304 (issue G). Rothschild 1613. "This issue is by many bibliophiles considered the first edition and is eagerly sought after" (Griffith).


[POPE, Alexander]. An Essay on Man. Address'd to a Friend. Part I. London: J. Wilford, [1733].

First edition. large paper copy, first issue according to Griffith (second issue according to Wise). Folio (332 x 198 mm.) 10 ll. with woodcut title ornament, decorative initials and head- and tail-pieces. No half-title issued. Disbound with crease where previously folded. Small, old stain to title page, last two leaves with horizontal tears to inner margins (affecting a couple of letters). Excellent. Chemised and housed with the above in cloth clamshell case.

Wise Ashley IV, p. 39 (no. 2). Foxon P822. Griffith 294 (issue A). Rothschild 1613. Hayward 148 : "The present copy of Part I is [Griffith's} 'Issue A' for the priority of which he argues with skill and conviction".


[POPE, Alexander]. An Essay on Man. In Epistles to a Friend. Epistle I-IV. London: J. Wilford, [1733-34].

Third edition of the first Epistle, first editions of Epistles II-IV, on large paper. "Griffith (p. 241) places this edition of Epistle I, 'Corrected by the Author,' before the so-called 'Second Edition' issued in the same year. Wise argues convincingly that it is the third edition." (Rothschild 1615).

Four parts in one volume. Folio (343 x 220 mm.). 42 ll. [2], 17, [1, blank]; [2], 18; 20; [4], 18, [1, ad], [1, blank] pp. Woodcut title ornaments, decorative initials and head- and tail-pieces. With page 4 misnumbered page 8 in Epistle I (as called for). With the half-titles to Epistle II & III as called for and the ad on the penultimate page of the last Epistle.

Contemporary speckled calf, expertly rebacked to style. Gilt fillet borders, spine bands ruled in gilt, blind stamped devices in compartments. Other parts apparently removed from binding. An excellent copy.

Elizabeth Heber with her signature dated 1762 on the front free endpaper. Mary Cholmondeley with her signature on the front pastedown. E. Hurbert Litchfield with letters concerning it from Bernard Quaritch laid in (though not from lot 753 of his Parke-Bernett sale on December 4, 1951 as the descriptions do not match). Exhibited at the Grolier Club, "This powerfull rime" no. 35 (stating that it had belonged to W.A. White). Abel E. Berland's copy with his bookplate.

Wise Ashley, pp. 40-45 (no. 4, 5, 8, 10). Foxon P827, P833, P840, P845. Griffith 307, 300, 308, 331. Rothschild 1613, 1614, 1615. Grolier English 43.

The four epistles of the Essay on Man were published successively on February 20, March 29, May 8, 1733 and finally on January 24, 1734. The first editions of the first three Epistles appear in variant states, the priority of which is not always clear, but none of which are of significance textually (except Griffith's issue "I" of Epistle I, which Pope revised). The 'friend' to whom the Epistles were addressed was Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke. But this poem was not simply a statement of Bolingbroke's deistic philosophy. It has been referred to as 'a public, social and classical poem', a poem that takes into account Newton's impersonal universe but also interweaves a 'tissue of images from older and more human conceptions' (M. Mack, Works, Vol. III) and which examines the human condition against Miltonic, cosmic bacground. Although Pope's perspective is well above our everyday life, and he does not hide his wide knowledge, the work is suggestive, dramatic, exciting, and sometimes even comfortably concrete: "Each beast, each insect, happy in its own: / Is Heaven unkind to Man, and Man alone?"

Eighteenth-century sociability and a Roman Catholic sense of corporateness are a key part of Pope's philosophical outlook, while his favored metaphor of serenity-from-discord can be traced back to Heraclitus. In Mack's view, the "poem is able to transcend its origins and establish contact with the collective religious and moral past. Between Paradise Lost and The Prelude, there is no other English poem of which this can be said" (Ibid., p. lxxii).

Pope died on May 30, 1744. He left his property to Martha Blount. With the growth of Romanticism Pope's poetry was increasingly seen as outdated and the 'Age of Pope' ended. It was not until 1930s when serious attempt was made to rediscover the poet's work.

While there is some argument as to the first issue of the first part, both camps (Griffith and Wise) are here represented with excellent examples. A wonderful, and truly complete compilation of all relevant issues of one of the great poems in the English language.

Ashley IV, p. 38. Foxon P822. Griffith 304. Rothschild 1613.

HBS 65395.


Price: $6,500.00

Item #65395