Edinburgh: David Ramsay for Jo. And Ja. Fairbairn, 1790. First Edition. Octavo. Item #018985
A most remarkable set both in terms of its content and condition. The Peregrine Pickle edition in volume 3 has the benefit of the identification in the margins of those whom Smollett was lampooning. In the section entitled: The Memoirs of a Lady of Quality has the special value of having identified in the margins by R. Stark the owner in 1806 whose name appears on each title page; for instance, Lord P-- is Portmore; Lord S--K is Selkirk, with twenty-six further identifications assisting both the literary historian and the specialist in English history in noting what was taking place behind the novel presumably so that an author protects himself from the strict English laws for libel. Lewis M. Knapp in his Tobias Smollett: Doctor of Men and Letters (Princeton, 1949) identified these also but somewhat differently. Roderick Random is the most unabashed portrait of flagrant homosexual in any eighteenth-century novel. The six volumes have twenty-eight plates instead of the standard six frontispiece plates by Rowlandson. The additional twenty-two extra-illustrations are plates by George Cruikshank and W. Walker (engraver) after Daniel Dodd (Many of his originals are in DeYoung Museum in San Francisco). This is the rare first edition (only the second edition has appeared at auction in the past forty years). Each volume has the bookplate of Robert Cram Bacon who was the treasurer of the Harvard Lampoon in 1915. ESTC 55288.