London: Printed for M[ary] J[ane] Godwin and Co., 1814. First edition. First English translation and first issue in two volumes. Extremely rare in the original publisher's paper-covered boards, rebacked, and lacking the final advertisement in Vol. 2, otherwise complete with all four plates. Internal contents are remarkably clean and fresh with minor foxing on the frontis and the occasional spot or marginal tear, but untrimmed and with generous margins. An excellent copy.
Originally written in German by a Swiss pastor as a method to teach his four sons a series of moral, Christian lessons about frugality, husbandry, cooperation, etc. It differed from other educational works in that it borrowed the idea of a deserted island from Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" and follows the family's adventures on the island.
This first translation into English is based on an earlier French translation by Baronesse Montolieu. A single volume edition followed this edition later in 1814 from the same standing type, but with the second title-page cancelled, changes of page numbers and signatures to make them continuous, and other minor rearrangements of setting. The continuation of the story was first released in English in 1816. The only other copy at auction in original boards was at the Manney sale, Sotheby's 1991, which brought $6,050. Housed in a custom clamshell case.
Alderson & Oyens 16; Gumuchian 4907; Osborne I, p. 318. (Item #674)
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