Opuscula varia posthuma, philosophica, civilia, et theologica …

London, Roger Daniel for Octavian Pulleyn, 1658.

Small 8vo, pp. [xxxvi], 216; contemporary bookplate to the blank verso of the title, with a short wormtrack along its lower edge (text on title unaffected); early marbled boards, decorated paper spine, MS spine label (chipped).


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First edition, edited by William Rawley, ‘the most important disseminator of Bacon’s works and propagator of Bacon’s reputation in the seventeenth century’ (Rees, p. lxxiii). This is the second issue, with a cancel title giving Pulleyn as publisher but with gathering K still in its first, uncorrected state.

Half the book is taken up by the Historia densi & rari, the third of Bacon’s unfinished series of six natural histories, themselves Part III in his Instauratio magna, the mammoth project he never completed. Among the other pieces included here by Rawley are what, according to Rees, seem to have been destined for Part IV: the Inquisitio de magnete and Topica inquisitionis de luce et lumine, both very late works, written around 1625.

Gibson Supplement 230b; Wing B 315. For a full bibliographical discussion, see Graham Rees’ Introduction to The Instauratio magna: Last Writings (Oxford Francis Bacon XIII, Clarendon Press, 2000), pp. lxxxiii–xci, and Appendix I, pp. 338–43.

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