[Hand-Colored] An account of Corsica, the journal of a tour to that island; and memoirs of Pascal Paoli. By James Boswell, Esq; Illustrated with a new and accurate map of Corsica
BOSWELL, James (1740-1795)
Price: 2,650.00 USD
Glasgow: printed by Robert and Andrew Foulis for Edward and Charles Dilly in the Poultry, London, 1768. First Edition of Boswell's first important work, which launched his career and catapulted him to fame. Demy 8vo: xxi,,382pp, with final blank and large folding map of Corsica by Thomas Phinn in contemporary hand-color (second state, as per Rothschild, with imprint but without scale of miles, nor division of the margins into degrees, and placed before A1). Armorial bookplate of Westport House, County Mayo, Ireland, the Browne family crest. One of 3500 copies printed, among which are many variants (some described in Tinker), which may be found in any combination. In our copy, complete with "the very rare half-title" (Rothschild), the table of contents (b2) follows the preface (a3-b1); D2 recto is in Rothschild's first state, with the words "John Home" incorrectly placed following the first quotation on p. 51; E2 and Z3 are cancellanses, with "Mariani" spelled correctly (line 24, p. 357). Pottle additional misprints are also present: "141" for "241" in 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; "Montgomer’" on p. 184, line 4; "speculati-ions" on p. 327, lines 9-10; pp. 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"). Full contemporary mottled calf, green morocco lettering piece, all edges stained green, plain period end papers. A superb copy with the magnificent map of Corsica in rare hand-color; foxing to end papers and several quires, a few occasional minor stains, but withal fine. Tinker Library 318. Cox I p. 138. Gaskell (Foulis) 473. NCBEL II 1211. Pottle 24. Rothschild 442. Lowndes 242 ("first and uncastrated edition"). Bibliotheca Bibliographici 841. Boswell was a staunch supporter of the Corsican Republic: he took such "childish pleasure in being the chief sponsor of this wild island struggling to become a nation," that, for Garrick's anniversary celebration in honor of Shakespeare, in 1769, he dressed as a Corsican chief. (Cox). "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. . . . With its reports of the gallant islanders and a Plutarchan depiction of Paoli paralleled with several classical heroes, [An Account of Corsica] was an immediate success. The work was widely read and translated [the first edition of 3500 copies was sold out within six weeks, and a second edition (also of 3500 copies) was ready a month or so later], stimulated great interest in Paoli and the Corsican cause, brought its author wide fame in Britain and Europe, and found an interested readership among the Americans. It attracted the notice of the French government (which had a translation made), and though Boswell's ambition for British intervention was not to be fulfilled, he probably influenced Britain's decision to send secret supplies of arms to the Corsicans." (ODNB) An ironic consequence of Paoli's ultimate defeat was that one of the first babies born under the new French jurisdiction was Napoleon Bonaparte, son of Paoli's adjutant. "The Account of Corsica was the book of the hour. Many more copies of it were sold in Boswell's lifetime than either of his great works in the biography of Johnson, and it achieved abroad a much more remarkable success." (Pottle) N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. First Edition. Fine.
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- By This Author: BOSWELL, James (1740-1795)