The Oeconomy of Human Life.

DODSLEY Robert (1751)

£500.00  [First Edition]

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Translated from an Indian Manuscript written by an Ancient Bramin. To which is prefixed, an Account of the Manner in which the said Manuscrtipt was discover'd. In a letter from an English Gentleman, now residing in China to the Earl of ****.Engraved frontispiece.First Edition. 8 vo. xxxii, 111 pp. Many edges uncut. Contemporary half-calf.London: For M. Cooper,

This is a fine copy of the scarce first edition of the first part of this important work. The bookseller Robert Dodsley's didactic moral treatise, written as if by an eastern philosopher and supposedly obtained from the Grand Lama of Tibet, first appeared anonymously in 1751 and was soon generally attributed to the Earl of Chesterfield (author of the famous Letters to his Son), a misapprehension, which as it contributed largely to the book's success, Dodlsey did nothing to correct. "Perhaps no book published in the eighteenth century was issued in more separate printings than Robert Dodsley's Oeconomy of Human Life. By the end of the century about two hundred editions had appeared, including forty-eight American editions as well as translations into Latin, Hebrew, Russian, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Danish. In addition there were a host of imitations and parodies, separately printed and in newspapers and magazines. By contrast, works such as Gulliver's Travels, Robinson Crusoe, and Gray's Elegy seem like publishing failures" (Eddy). A 'Part the Second', attributed to John Hill, was also published in this year by Cooper (and a Dublin edition bears the date 1750) - an advertisement in the General Advertiser on January 8th 1751 reveals the difficulties Dodsley was having, as a result of his original anonymity, with all these spurious imprints: "The Author of the above, who assumed the Character of an Indian Bramin that he might cloath his Sentiments in an Eastern Dress with the more propriety, thinks proper to declare, that he hath not written any Second Part or Appendix to the said Piece; and that no Additions whatever either are or will be made by him to it."- D. D. Eddy, "Dodsley's Oeconomy of Human Life, 1750-1751", in Modern Philology, 85, 1988, p.460. See also H. M. Solomon, The Rise of Robert Dodlsey, 1996.

Bound with:[THOMSON (James) and MALLET (David)]. Alfred: a masque. Acted at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, by His Majesty's Servants.Second edition. 8 vo. [7]ff 72pp.London: for A. Millar, 1751.Rothschild 1362. Lacking the half-title, but with the prologue and cast-list, headed by Frederick Prime of Wales for the birthday of Princess Augusta, and first performed and published in 1740. This second edition contains Mallet's new adaptions, intended to highlight Garrick's role as Alfred, alongside Bellamy's Eltrnda. Thomson's 'Rule Brittania' is among the parts which have been added.

Stock Code: 54157

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