12mo., pp. , vii, , 236, , with an engraved title-page by Isaac Taylor, and a terminal advertisement leaf; wormtrack to upper outer corner, touching the pagination in a couple of instances, but a very good copy in attractive contemporary speckled calf, spine gilt, a little restoration to front joint; contemporary letterpress booklabel of Thomas Mann, nineteenth century gift inscriptions.
US $699 €567
First edition, a collection of twenty-seven essays. The other edition of 1765, more cheaply printed and with a letterpress title-page, is given priority by Temple Scott, but Rothschild suggests it is a piracy or a cheap edition printed to meet extra demand – it is certainly less generously imposed, and does not include advertisments for Griffin. Although he is not named in the imprint John Newbery, who had just published Goldsmith’s Traveller, was involved in the publication.
Rothschild 1027; Temple Scott p. 156; Williams p. 136.
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BROWNE, Sir Thomas.
Pseudodoxia Epidemica: or, Enquiries into very many received Tenents, and commonly presumed Truths ... The second Edition, corrected and much enlarged by the Author. Together with some marginall Observations, and a table alphabeticall at the End ...
Second edition revised. ‘The publisher’s claim ... “corrected and much enlarged by the Author” was fully justified. New chapters and paragraphs were freely inserted and some excisions were made. Many technical terms and quotations in the original languages were dropped, rhetorical questions were altered to positive statements, and small improvements were made throughout. Of the [new] marginal annotations some were by the author, but others, printed in smaller type, were by an admirer of the work, who was also responsible for the Alphabetical Table. This is made plain in the Advertisement signed N.N. on B1b. Wilkin suggested that this admirer may have been the Rev. Mr. Whitefoot of Norwich, who was a close friend of the author and used the same initials in a manuscript discourse preserved in the British Museum’ (Keynes).
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.