[MATHIAS, Thomas James]. ~ The Pursuits of Literature, or What you will. A satirical Poem in Dialogue. With Notes... Part the first. Second Edition of the First Part, with a few Alternations. London: Printed for J. Owen... 1796.
[—————]. The Pursuits of Literature, or What you will. A satirical Poem in Dialogue. With Notes... Part the second [– third]... London: Printed for J. Owen... 1796. [And:]
[—————]. The Pursuits of Literature: a A satirical Poem in Dialogue. With Notes... Part the fourth and last. London: Printed for T. Beckett... 1797. [And:]
[—————]. An equestrian Epistle in Verse, to the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Jersey, Master of the Horse to H. R. H. the Prince of Wales, occasioned by the Publication of the Correspondence between the Earl and Countess of Jersey, and the Rev. Dr. Randolph, upon the Subject of some Letters belonging to H. R. H. the Prince of Wales. Adorned with Notes... London, 1796. Printed for J. Parsons... J. Owen... and W. Clarke... [And:]
[—————]. The Imperial Epistle from Kien Long, Emperor of China, to George the Third, King of Great Britain, &c. &c. &c. in the Year 1794... Translated into English Verse from the original Chinese Poetry... Second Edition. London: Printed for R. White... 1796.
3 works in one vol., The Pursuits of Literature in 4 parts, 8vo (203 × 127 mm), pp. , ii, 42; viii, 35, ; , iv, 40; , xxii, 104; complete with half-titles for Parts II–IV, lacking that for Part I; An equestrian Epistle: pp. vii, –32; complete with the half-title; The Imperial Epistle: pp. , viii, 32; complete with the half-title; recent boards.
Pursuits of Literature: Second of the first part (first 1794, in quarto), first editions of the other three. Scarce, and even more so complete. ‘A wide-ranging satire with extensive notes on the conceit and licence of contemporary authors... The attacks on Payne Knight’s Worship of Priapus and Lewis’s The Monk are concerned with obscenity, and Mathias ridicules the “Black-Letter Kennell” of antiquarians (especially George Steevens), W. H. Ireland, Parr, Darwin, and Gilpin, on literary grounds. There is praise for Gray, Mason, Beattie, Burns, Cowper, Ann Radcliffe, Capell, Johnson, Isaac Reed, and Jacob Bryant, as well as for several of Mathias’s own works. But the poem is confessedly of its political moment, declaring openly that literature is an important tool of government. Held up for censure are Sheridan, Fox, Priestley, Paine, Horne Tooke, and Godwin... The British Critic approved of the poem as a “strenuous enemy and assailant of democratical principles, and of that monster, French, or Frenchified philosophy”... William Cobbett wrote to the anonymous author that “Your matchless poem... is become very fashionable in the libraries of the Americans”’ (Oxford DNB). Jackson, pp. 194, 213, and 221.
Equestrian Epistle: First edition. One of the rarer poems by Mathias and, unusually, confined to a single edition. Jackson, p. 207. ESTC locates 6 copies only (BL, Cambridge, Bodley, Harvard, Huntington, Yale).
Imperial Epistle: Second edition, first published the year before, in quarto. Jackson, p. 208. Jackson, pp. 213, 207, and 208.