THE CONFESSIONS OF J. LACKINGTON
Scarce American edition of the bookseller's Confessions, with one of the earliest Brooklyn imprints.
Very good plus.
THE CONFESSIONS OF J. LACKINGTON
"My leisure hours were mostly spent in retirement at my country-house. There I read those publications that have been sent into the world by infidels."
Lackington's CONFESSIONS (first published in London in 1804) follow and disclaim his earlier MEMOIRS, in which he first detailed his "strange rise from one of the lowest stations in life, to the possession of probably the greatest book-store in the known world," and fervently insulted Christianity in general and Methodism in particular along the way. Following his happy but temporary time as a Deist, the erstwhile bookseller was reclaimed once more for the Methodist side, and wrote these Letters to advertise and explain the fact of his conversion.
Notable in Lackington's redemption drama is his reliance on books and reading to draw him back from the precipice: just as a novel-reading wife and Voltaire pushed him to deny the Gospels, only texts could bring him back: and to convert that same novel-reading wife, Lackington sent to his former book-dealing colleagues for "Seeker's Lectures on the Catechism; Wilson's Sermons, 4 vols.", and much more of the same, piling religious books upon his poor wife until at last "Mrs. L. said that she preferred that kind of reading far beyond the reading of novels." As for himself, the author "laid my freethinking books aside and began once more to study my Bible." Not merely a Methodist conversion narrative, but a history of reading: of a soul whose apprehension of truth and reality was entirely mediated through books and the written word.
First edition thus. Brooklyn: Ezekial Cooper & John Wilson, for the Methodist Connection in the United States. Robinson & Little, Printers, 1806. The confessions of J. Lackington, late bookseller, at the temple of the Muses, in a series of letters to a friend. 5.5'' x 3.25''. Full brown calf. Spine stamped with gilt lines. [vii], [10-189],  pages. Contemporary owner's name and religious verse, ("A looking glass where we may see / Our natures own depravity....") in pen to front free endpaper. Boards slightly bowed, with moderate edgewear; head of spine lightly chipped. Moderate to heavy foxing and toning throughout.
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