This is my new Favorite Book! It is quite rare in Original editions , only three US holdings of the first editions, NO copies in the us of the Seconds! It  is without a doubt a fore runner to  Robinson Crusoe and Tristam Shandy ! ( two other of my favorite books) This book is listed some times as “fiction” other times it is categorized as “True Crime” having read through it, I would side on amazing ‘true crime’. ”

Richard Head’s English Rogue became the first work of English prose fiction to be translated into a continental language. DSC_0035 Its German title was Simplicianischer Jan Perus, dessen Geburt und Herkommen, kurtzweiliger Lebens-Lauff, unterschiedliche Verheyrathung, Rencke, Schwencke, Elend, Reise, Gefängnuß, Verurtheil- und Bekehrung (1672), – the

Title page of German edition of Richard Head's...
Title page of German edition of Richard Head’s English Rogue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

title being designed to sell the English work on the very market Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen had recently created with his Simplicius Simplicissimus (1666–1668).

Numerous imitations of Head’s rogue story followed on the English market such as The French Rogue: or, The Life of Monsieur Ragoue de Versailles (1672) (identified in several library catalogues as another of Head’s works); the most famous descendant is today probably Daniel Defoes The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (1722).

I hope you can get this one !


From Part III chap I

“Mrs. Dorothy rehearses how she cheats her Lovers;
who being with Child, made all that had to do with . -her contribute to her expence in lying in, and recotnpence her lost honour. She goes into the country to
lay her great Belly; in her Journey she falls into
the acquaintance of a crafty Old Woman (alias:
a Procurer)
MRS. Dorothy having thus given me an account of her first Adventure, I received much satissaction in the Relation; and told her that I found she was much improved in cunning since my first ac-
quaintance with her; for I had enjoyed her without much advantage to her self, for she had a great Belly, with little profit, not knowing who was, or were to find a Father: whereas now she had her choice of three, and money enough to boot whereby to purchase a handsome provision for herself and child. Yes, reply’d she, I did not intend to be caught again; for then it would have been my own sault,youhavingexperienced me in the sallacies of your Sex ; and therefore, as I told you, I made my bargain with all my three Friends as politickly as I could; and upon second thoughts, altered somewhat of the terms I had formerly agreed upon : for whereas my first Customer had given me twenty pounds in hand, to provide me with necessaries during my time of lying in, and had agreed to provide for the Child,when it should be born: I told him Ihad provided a Nurse for it dircady that was willing to take all the charge, and discharge him from any further trouble, upon payment of fourty pounds more; to this he easily consented, and gave Bond in to me, in the name of a Friend of mine; whom I told him was the Party that would make provision for the Child.
Thus did I settle matters with the first : and with the second I continued my bargain, of having twenty pounds down, and fifty pounds more at the birth of the Child. And my Masters Brother and I continued our old bargain of the like sum, of twenty pounds down,and fifty pounds more,to be paid at 6 moneths; neither did I discontinue my samiliarities with any of them; for I managed my afsairs so cunningly, that some nights I lay with my first Customer without the knowledge of my Master’s Brother, from whom I endeavoured only to conceal it, and not from my second for he, as I told you, was privy to my dealings with
him, and by that means only first gained his ends upon me: sometimes I lay with my second Customer,but it was with feme regret, for I had the least afsection for him of the three ; but now he since he had bled some of his yellow pieces, and give me what I desired of him, I could not well refuse him his desires of me, neither was he so shy as formerly; for he valued not though my Masters Brother sometimes discovered us, for he knewthat our dealingswere not concealed from him, and therefore he was the bolder. But with my Masters Brother I was more free than ever; he having as much again for his money as either of the other, neither was it perceived by either of them; for he having the command of the house, so ordered it, that my Lodging was nearest to his; and therefore we hadthemore conveniencyto come at one another..”

DSC_0032From part IV


Say ling from St. Helena, &c. Landing at Messina, the Captain Latroon &c. sell Ship and Goods; the Seamen falling out and killing one another, they leave them and go for Palermo; Thence they travel into the Country, and describe it with its Rarities and Wonders. A comical Adventure in a house supposedly haunted, as they travelled through Gergento with their Mulletteer.
Whilst we anchored at the Island of St. Helena there happened a sad Accident; whilst we were recreating and resreshing our selves in the Island, one of our men (that brought us ashore in the Skiff) being an excellent Swimmer, stript him-self, and over the side of the Boat he went, he had not been long in the water besore such as stood on the shore to see him swim, perceived a Sharkto make towards him; who cryed out, A Shark, Shark, hasten to the Boat; which he did with incredible speed, and had laid his hands on her side as the Shark snapt at his Leg, and having it in his mouth turned on his back, and twisted it off” from his knee. The sellow protested to me that when this was done, he selt no pain any where but under his Arm-pits; the sellow was drest and persectly cur’d; afterwards this very Shark was taken by one of our men, fishing for him with a great piece of Raw-Beef, and when his belly was ripp’d open, the Leg was found whole therein. From St. Helena, having taken in fresh water, and gotten in some other resreshment that the Island afforded, we set sail with a fresh breeze and good weather.
Our Captain getting himself into the great Cabbin, gave the word for me, I coming to him, now, said he, let you and I have a little private discourse together, to the intent that we may persect with sasety what we have enterpriz’d with hazard. You know my full intent as to the disposing of the Ship and Goods to my own use and benefit, excepting only what is yours, and the rest of our Comrades: What your old friend in Breeches hath with great hazard ventur’d for, let her enjoyit freelysince shehathdeservedit,and that you may see the frankness of my Spirit, go, get our friends together that I may inform them, that though I play the Rogue with others, yet I will be just to them; your Newgate Birds will have such as wrong their own fraternity”


754F  Head, Richard.    1637?-1686?.

The English rogue: continued in the life of Meriton Latroon, and other extravagants. Comprehending the most eminent. [sic] cheats of both sexes. The third part. With the illustration of pictures to every chapter.

Bound with

The English rogue: continued in the life of Meriton Latroon, and other extravagants. Comprehending the most eminent. [sic] cheats of both sexes. The fourth part. With the illustration of pictures to every chapter.

London: By Anne Johnson for Francis Kirkman, 1674

London : printed for Francis Kirkman, and are to be sold by William Rands at the Crown in Duck-lane, 1680.                         $3,500

Octavo, 9.5 x 16 cm.  Second edition of each volume.  A4, B-Y8    [2],[308] P=3plates ; A-V8 X . [2], 324 1 of 3 Plates This copy has three full page plates in part one (complete and one of three plates in part two, lacking two plates).

This copy is bound in full contemporary calf recently rebacked.

Richard Head (1637?-86?) was a prolific hack writer who reportedly made a living “scribbling” for booksellers “at 20s per sheet”, his fortunes somewhat limited by his dissipated lifestyle and addiction to gambling (which nevertheless inspired his vivid accounts of contemporary low life). A characteristically coarse and indecent work, The English Rogue(1665) was perhaps Head’s most popular book. It was initially refused a printing licence until expurgated (though copies of an unexpurgated edition are supposed to have been distributed illegally). To capitalise upon its popularity the writer and bookseller Francis Kirkman (b.1632) reissued The English Rogue in 1666 and then published a Second Part in 1668 (second edition 1671). This led to the production of Third and Fourth parts in 1671, with an intimation that a Fifth too would be forthcoming. Although Kirkman implied that all these additions resulted from collaboration between himself and Head, Head disowned responsibility for any part except the First.

The most important primary source on Head s life is William Winstanley’s biographical entry published in his Lives of the most famous English poets (1687)   a credible if not reliable source insofar as Winstanley could claim to have been personally acquainted with Head. According to Winstanley, Head was a minister s son, born in Ireland. His father was killed in the Irish rebellion of 1641, the incidents seem to be reflected in Head’s English Rogue, the satirical romance he published in 1665. His mother took him to England where she had relatives in Barnstaple. They later moved on to Plymouth, to Bridport and to Dorset where Head is known to have attended the town’s grammar school in 1650. Head was eventually admitted to the same Oxford College his father had attended (possibly New Inn Hall, from which a John Head graduated in 1628). His financial means being insufficient Head was taken from college and bound apprentice to a  Latin bookseller  in London  attaining to a good Proficiency in the Trade , as Winstanley put it.

His genius being addicted to Poetry  he published his first poetical and satirical piece which Winstanley recorded as Venus Cabinet Unlock d. This may be a reference to Giovanni Benedetto Sinibaldi’s The cabinet of Venus unlocked, and her secrets laid open. Being a translation of part of Sinibaldus, his Geneanthropeia, and a collection of some things out of other Latin authors, never before in English (London: Philip Briggs, 1658). Head married around that time. A second addiction to gambling cost him the profit he made as an author and with his shop.
Head moved   or fled   to his homeland Ireland, where he gained esteem with his first comedy Hic et ubique, or, The Humors of Dublin   printed with a dedication to the Duke of Monmouth at his return to England in 1663. The Duke s recompense remaining below expectations Head had to survive as a bookseller with shop addresses (so Sidney Lee) in Little Britain, and (so Gerard Langbaine) in Petty Canons Alley, off Paternoster Row and opposite Queen’s Head Alley. Winstanley located him in Queen’s Head Alley. If his reports are trustworthy, Head gathered some wealth in little time only to gamble it away again a little later.
The English Rogue (1665) solved some of his financial problems. Its tales of drastic adventures were based on the model of Spanish rogue stories (such as Lazarillo de Tormes 1554), which were fashionable due to the contemporary publication of Scarron s Roman Comique (or Comical Romance, so the English title which established the genre), and savory with the events Head could claim to have based on his personal experience. The censor, so Winstanley reported, rejected the manuscript as  too much smutty . The softened book edition sold brilliantly and created a complex publishing history: The first edition published by Henry Marsh sold out within the year. Marsh died that very year, Francis Kirkman the business partner, to whom Marsh had been indebted, secured the rights and sold Head’s title in four further editions between 1666 and 1667. It remains unclear how the ensuing volumes two, three, and four, published in 1671, 1674 and 1680, came to be written (a fifth was promised and never appeared). Winstanley speaks of Head as the author indiscriminately. In the dedication to his Proteus redivivus (1675) Head, however, explicitly denies a hand in any part but the first. Kirkman asserted nonetheless that he and Head were responsible for the third and fourth parts. The preface to the latter is signed by both men   facts which make Head’s belated disclaimer suspicious.
Head’s imprint as a publisher is found on several titles. Works from his pen appeared until 1677. Winstanley reports that Head drowned on a journey to the Isle of Wight; the report itself was made in June 1686, and this generally accepted as the date of his death, even though more accurately it is a terminus ante quem.
Wing H1250 [ O. DU. EN ]
Wing H1251 [O. DU. EN; OCI]   Sweeney #2264


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