An ESSAY ON WOMAN and other pieces printed at the private press in Great George-Street, Westminster, in 1763, and now reproduced in fac-simile from a copy believed to be unique. To which are added epigrams and miscellaneous poems now first collected., John Wilkes [authorship in dispute, also ascribed to Thomas Potter who may have assisted. Edited by J. C. Hotten and possibly H. S. Ashbee] (Privately Printed [probably James Camden Hotten], London, 1871 [reportedly only 250 were printed])
9.5″ X 7″, xvi+263pp. Hardbound, original brown cloth, paper title on spine. Deckled edges. Very good condition for age, some yellowing here and there, corners bumped, binding good. Signed (owner?) with message on front pastedown.
Sometime in 1755, John Wilkes, together with fellow rake and son of the Archbishop of Cantebury, Thomas Potter (c. 1718-1759), composed a bawdy set of parodied Alexander Pope poems entitled An Essay on Woman, a satirical imitation of Pope’s An Essay on Man. In 1763 he was put in jail for political reasons (“seditious libel for his anti-Jacobite smearing which appeared in his ‘radical’ weekly publication”). Upon release, his home was unlawfully searched and proofs of his “Essay on Woman” was discovered. This book contains a facsimile of a reprint, as no original is known. Text of poems printed in red. A work anonymously edited by John Camden Hotten, contains doumentary evidence of great value, including the affidavit of Wilke’s printer, Wilke’s statement, and Warburton’s speeches, as well as the offensive poems.