1879. New York: James Miller / London: B. Quaritch, 1879.
8vo, (vi), v, 319, xvii ("addenda") pp. Allegorical woodcut frontis. and a few illustrations in-text. Original brown bevelled cloth, backstrip gilt-lettered, image of an arm holding a whip gilt-stamped on upper board and blind-stamped on lower, brown coated endpapers. A near-fine copy, a light scuff on the lower board, a few smudges within.
§ First edition. An arduous updating of Pope's Dunciad directed against the leading writers, editors, and critics (and even a few booksellers) of Victorian England and America. Although Dickens is attacked at length, and there is much abusing of literary ladies, the primary target is the inoffensive historian and travel writer William Hepworth Dixon (1821-1879); his sin seems to have been remarks on Mormon polygamy in his Spiritual Wives (1868) that some readers regarded as indecent. Other particular targets are Tennyson, Browning, Swinburne, Morris, Joaquin Miller and Walt Whitman. An early Quaritch description laid in describes it as "a very nasty piece of work" and quotes The Saturday Review for 28 June 1879: "a laborious imitation... of the Dunciad of Pope, somewhat more universally insolent in its treatment of contemporary authors than any other satire in prose or verse that we remember...". Quaritch suspects an American author. An oddity in literary criticism and is very likely understudied. Item #123341