Salisbury: Printed by B. Collins for F. Newbery, 1766. First edition. Finely bound by Riviere & Son in full crushed morocco ornately stamped in gilt to spine and boards. All edges gilt. Inner dentelles gilt. Blue coated endpapers. Measuring 155 x 90mm and collating complete: , 214; , 223, [1, blank]. A first edition plagued by misprints and errors, there are four variants identified with no priority; the present is Temple Scott's variant B, with no catchword on page 213 of volume I, the correct catchword "him" on volume II page 39 and the correct page number on volume II page 159. A lovely copy outside and in, with just light sunning to spines; bookplates to early leaves, else fresh and with no signs of use. Housed in a custom cloth slipcase.
Reportedly published as a means for thwarting debt, The Vicar of Wakefield became one of the most popular novels of the late 18th century. Mixing irony with sentimentalism, it paints a portrait of village life "narrated by Dr. Primrose, the title character, whose family endured multiple trials -- including the loss of their fortune, the seduction of a daughter, the destruction of their home by fire, and the vicar's incarceration -- before all is put right at the end" (Britannica). Plagued by numerous errors in its first edition, the printed work's imperfection was noted with amusement by its author in the printed advertisement: "There are an hundred faults in this Thing, and an hundred things might be said to prove them beauties. But it is needless. A book may be amusing with numerous errors, or it may be very dull without a single absurdity."
ESTC T146176. Grolier English Hundred 53. Scott B. (Item #5067)