An Essay on the Learning of Shakespeare: addressed to Joseph Craddock, Esq; …

ambridge: Printed by J. Archdeacon, Printer to the University; for W. Thurlbourn & J. Woodyer, in Cambridge; and sold by J. Beecroft … J. Dodsley … and T. Cadell in … London. 1767.

8vo., pp. [6], 50; stab holes at inner margin where originally sewn; nineteenth-century half calf, rebacked and corners renewed. Bookplate of Professor Peter Clemoes of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.


US $894€731

Make an enquiry

First edition of an important contribution to eighteenth-century Shakespeare scholarship. Farmer argues forcefully that Shakespeare relied on translations of Greek and Latin authors, not the originals, echoing their phraseology and even their errors. ‘He remembered perhaps enough of his school-boy learning to put the Hig, hag, hog, into the mouth of Sir Hugh Evans; and might pick up in the course of his conversation a familiar word or two of French or Italian: but his Studies were most demonstratively confined to Nature and his own Language’. Farmer’s friend Samuel Johnson was delighted with the Essay, and declared the subject closed.

You may also be interested in...

BACON, Francis.

The Essayes or Counsels, civill and morall … Newly enlarged.

Third edition of the definitive text of Bacon’s Essayes, first published in 1625. The first edition appeared in 1597 comprising only ten short essays; in 1612 these were revised and a further twenty-eight essays added. The 1625 edition contained fifty-eight essays, twenty of them new, and the rest revised; this final version was reprinted many times throughout the seventeenth century

Read more


Miscellanies, viz. I. Day-Fatality. II. Local-Fatality. III. Ostenta. IV. Omens. V. Dreams. VI. Apparitions. VII. Voices. VIII. Impulses. IX. Knockings. X. Blows Invisible. XI. Prophesies. XII. Marvels. XIII. Magick. XIV. Transportation in the Air. XV. Visions in a Beril, or Glass. XVI. Converse with Angels and Spirits. XVII. Corps-Candles in Wales. XVIII. Oracles. XIX. Exstasie. XX. Glances of Love / Envy. XXI. Second-Sighted Persons …

First edition of Aubrey’s entertaining collection of folk history, superstitions, and gossip, the only book he completed. The topics he tackles in this work of ‘hermetick philosophy’ include ‘omens and prophecies, dreams and apparitions, day fatality and second sight, all of which he was concerned to explore and explain, verify or discredit’ (Oxford DNB). It is a work rich in curious information: there are charms to cure agues or the bite of a mad dog, spells to summon a vision of your future spouse on St Agnes’ Eve, and advice on the interpretation of dreams.

Read more