London: Printed by the Author, 1751. First edition. Contemporary full calf with gilt and raised bands to spines. All edges speckled red. In all a Fine, unrestored example with just a bit of shipping to the extremities of the spine of volume 2. Bookplates of the British novelist Sir Hugh Walpole (1884-1941) and the bibliophile Sylvan Lawrence Froelich (1892-1979) to front pastedowns of each. Additional ownership signature of Dubois to front endpapers of volumes 2-4. Faint offsettings to pastedowns, else internally bright, fresh and unmarked. Measuring 160 x 95mm (pages) and collating ix, [1, blank], 288; x, 322; v, [1, blank], 205, [1, blank]; vii, [1, blank], 315, [1, blank]: complete, including titles to each. Housed in a custom quarter morocco slipcase with chemise and accompanied by an early James F. Drake description.
A book that defined the use of literature for personal and political revenge, "the adventures of the egotistical scoundrel Peregrine Pickle is a comic and savage portrayal of 18th century society. Peregrine's journey through Europe, his many debaucheries, and his final repentance all provide scope for Smollett's satire on human cruelty, stupidity, and greed. Yet Smollett also caricatured many of his own enemies in the book, including the writer Henry Fielding and the actor David Garrick. For these reasons, it was criticized in its own day for excessive visciousness and its libelous tone. By the second edition, Smollett excised many of the more satirical passages; but most modern scholars agree that the first edition is the superior work" (Britannica).
ESTC T55344. Pforzheimer 1910. Fine (Item #4122)