Ben Franklin BiographyCritique ..

Weg zum Glück, Oder: Das Leben von Dr. Benj. Franklin (Ephrata, Pa.: Benjamin Mayer, 1796).

This German edition of The Way to Wealth, printed in 1796, was probably being read by a bilingual reader in the second half of the nineteenth century. The reader tore out an image of Franklin from an 1872 copy of an English-language newspaper, the Berks and Schuylkill Journal, to use as a bookmark.

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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

In the 1770s, however, Poor Richard’s 1758 preface was rewritten; most of the passages about authorship were taken out, so as to put the emphasis on the maxims about industry. By the nineteenth century, under the new title of The Way to Wealth, this revised version translated into just about every European language, and reprinted countless times in every possible format. If it has established Franklin’s fame as the apostle of frugality, Franklin himself was partly responsible, since he himself had a hand in rewriting and renaming it.

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The Way to Wealth or Poor Richard Improved by Benj. Franklin./ La Science de Bonhomme Richard, ou Moyen Facile de Payer les Impôts. Par Benj. Franklin, trans. A. F. Quetant (Paris: Antoine Renouard: 1795). Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Despite its small size, this is a luxury bilingual edition with extra-wide margins. The French introduction draws particular attention to the high quality of the frontispiece engraving of a miniature by J. S. Duplessis.

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