Benjamin Franklin (Hardcover)
Autobiography, Poor Richard, and Later Writings (LOA #37b) (Library of America Benjamin Franklin Edition #2)
Library of America, 9781883011536, 816pp.
Publication Date: October 6, 2005
Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback, Spanish (2/28/2019)
* Individual store prices may vary.
"Writing has been of Great Use to me in the Course of my Life," Benjamin Franklin said in his famous Autobiography. With characteristically calculated understatement, he attributed his enormous and varied successes to “my having learnt a little to scribble.”
This Library of America collection of Franklin’s works begins with letters sent from London (1757–1775) describing the events and diplomacy preceding the Revolutionary War. The volume also contains political satires, bagatelles, pamphlets, and letters written in Paris (1776–1785), where he represented the revolutionary United States at the court of Louis XVI, as well as his speeches given in the Constitutional Convention and other works written in Philadelphia (1785–1790), including his last published article, a searing satire against slavery.
Also included are the delightfully shrewd prefaces to Poor Richard’s Almanack (1733–1758) and their worldly, pungent maxims that have entered our American culture. Finally, the classic Autobiography, Franklin’s last word on his greatest literary creation—his own invented personality—is presented here in a new edition, completely faithful to Franklin’s manuscript.
A companion volume includes the complete “Silence Dogood” series, “Busy-Body” essays, and a generous selection of his early writings, including letters to the press, satires, and pamphlets.
LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
About the Author
Benjamin Franklin, statesman, philosopher, and man of letters, was born in Boston in 1706 of Protestant parents. He entered Boston Grammar School when he was eight and later attended George Brown Ell’s school. When he was twelve his father apprenticed him to his half-brother James as a printer. James was later the publisher of the New England Courant, where Franklin’s first articles, The Dogood Papers, were published before he was seventeen. He went to Philadelphia in 1723 and pursued his trade of printer. He was befriended by William Keith, Governor of Pennsylvania, who offered to help the young man get started in business. Franklin left for England, where he hoped to arrange for the purchase of printing equipment. Arriving in London in 1724, he was soon deserted by Keith, and again turned to printing for a livelihood. His privately printed Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain (1725) introduced him to leading Deists and other intellectuals in London. A year later, he returned to Philadelphia, and by 1730 he had been appointed public printer for Pennsylvania. In 1731 he established the first circulation library in the United States; in 1743-44, The American Philosophical Society. In 1748 he retired from the trade of printer but continued to advise and back his partner and to draw profit from the business. Poor Richard’s Almanack was his most spectacular success as a publisher, having gone through numerous editions and been translated in many languages. During the next thirty-five years he devoted himself largely to politics and diplomacy, but still wrote and engaged in scientific ventures. He resigned as Minister to France in 1785, returned to America, and was elected President of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Still concerned with the rights of the individual, he published papers encouraging the abolition of slavery. He died in Philadelphia in 1790.