ACCOUNT OF CORSICA, The Journal of a Tour to that Island; and Memoirs of Pascal Paoli
ACCOUNT OF CORSICA, The Journal of a Tour to that Island; and Memoirs of Pascal Paoli

ACCOUNT OF CORSICA, The Journal of a Tour to that Island; and Memoirs of Pascal Paoli

(Glasgow: By Robert and Andrew Foulis for Edward and Charles Dilly In the Poultry., 1768).

THE FIRST PRINTING OF BOSWELL'S FIRST SIGNIFICANT WORK, ONE WHICH WOULD HELP LAUNCH HIS FAME AS ONE OF THE FINEST MEN OF LETTERS OF HIS AGE. This first edition was an immediate success and sold out within six weeks.
Boswell supported the Corsican struggle to become an independent nation and considered himself one of the island's chief sponsors. ""Following the island's invasion by France, in 1768, Boswell attempted to raise public awareness and rally support for the Corsicans. He sent arms and money to the Corsican fighters, and made an arduous and dangerous journey to Corsica to meet General Pasquale Paoli, leader of the insurgents seeking the island's independence from the Genoese. Paoli at first suspected [Boswell] was a spy, but quickly came to like his improbable young visitor, saw an opportunity for promotion of the Corsican cause in Britain, and consented to a series of interviews" - Pierce
The text includes Boswell's keen observations on many topics, including military matters and arms, commerce, government, and religion. It also includes many accounts of his own experiences.
Boswell was, rightfully, very proud of this work. Within his lifetime it went through many, many editions. Within just a short time of its original appearance it had been translated into Dutch, Italian, German, and French; and sold as well abroad as it did in Britain. It was in fact a most remarkable success and the first step towards one of the most distinguished literary careers of the age.
Concerning the provenance, Rokeby Park is well known as the original English home in the painting "The Toilet of Venus" by Diego Velázquez. The painting is now referred to as The Rokeby Venus". It now hangs in the National Gallery, London, and a copy hangs in the saloon at Rokeby Park. Sir Walter Scott was a regular visitor to the house, and he used it as the setting for his narrative poem Rokeby in 1812.
The building is also of interest in its own right. Completed in 1735 (and known at the time as Rokeby Hall) by Sir Thomas Robinson, it is considered a fine example of the Italianate Palladian style. Robinson owned it until 1769, when he sold it to J.S. Morritt, whose bookplate adorns the initial pastedown. The magnificent library of Giannalisa Feltrinelli was sold in 1997 at auction. This fine example was selected for one of the most important libraries in Europe. Item #31228

Rare First Edition, First State of James Boswell's first important book. A copy with excellent provenance, the Rokeby Park, John Bacon Sawrey Morritt original bookplate is present as well as the bookplate of Giannalisa Feltrinelli. This copy also in Rothschild's first state, with the words "John Home" incorrectly placed following the first quotation on p. 51; E2 and Z3 are cancels, with "Mariani" spelled correctly (line 24, p. 357). The additional misprints cited by Pottle are also present: "141" for "241" in the table of contents; broken "E" in "Etruscans" on p. 70, line 17; "feelirg" on p. 137, line 11; "tha the" on p. 172, line 9; "Montgomerÿ" on p. 184, line 4; "speculati-ions" on p. 327, lines 9-10. Pages 93 and 296 are correctly printed (the last words of line 6, p.93, are "prince of" and of line 18, p.296, "of my own"). "Illustrated with a new and accurate map of Corsica." This being an exceptionally well detailed and attractive large folding engraved map bound at the front. With half-title, which is frequently lacking, title-page with engraved vignette featuring the arms of Corsica. 8vo (205 x 120 mm.), in full contemporary calf, the spine with simple gilt ruled raised bands, one compartment with brown morocco label gilt lettered, the boards framed with gilt double-rules, board edges hatched in blind xxiii, 384pp. A fine copy of the text, especially fresh and clean, a strong impression, unpressed and very sturdy and tight, a bit of offset on the final leaf and half-title and a bit from the map to the titlepage, the binding handsome and firm but with a bit of minor wear or rubbing along the tips and shoulders. The folding map is in a fine state of preservation, unusually so.

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Price: $3,500.00