Description[Jonathan Swift] Walter Scott Autograph Letter Signed. One page, penned on recto only, 7.75" x 9.75", June 28, 1808. Prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet Walter Scott was the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime, with many contemporary readers in Europe, Australia, and North America. Here, Scott writes to an unidentified correspondent regarding the purchase of Jonathan Swift's first major work, A Tale of a Tub. Letter reads, in part: "I... esteem it a favour that you have the politeness to give me the Refusal of the Tale of a Tub with Bently's notes. The price is somewhat high for one not in the habit of buying books as curiosities, But my personal engagements with Swift's work prevents my hesitating at the price. Will you be so good to send the volume down by the Edinburgh mail coach properly packed and... addressed to me 'Castle Street Edinburgh..." Signed "Walter Scott."
Scott's "personal engagements with Swift's work" refers to Scott's voluminous study chronicling The Works of Jonathan Swift... with Notes and a Life of the Author. A Tale of a Tub, published in 1704, was the first major work written by Jonathan Swift. Swift, himself a cleric, sought to create a satirical allegory of religious excesses. His Tale is the story of three brothers, each representing a branch of Christianity. Using literary device, Swift includes commentary on such diverse topics as literature, politics, theology and medicine, making this his most difficult and ambitious project. Despite the popularity of the work, it made Swift a notorious figure and hampered his advancement in the Catholic Church.
Scott published an annotated edition of Swift's works in 19 volumes in 1814, and it was republished in 1824. Dated 1808, this letter evidences Scott's early interest in Swift's writing. Letter is lightly toned with occasional fading of ink. Previous mounting traces along left edge. Accompanied by a 6" x 8.75" engraving of Scott which is affixed to a larger sheet measuring 10.5" x 13.75".
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