An essay on man… with illustrations, and notes, by S. R. Wells.

New York, Wells, 1867.

Small 8vo, pp. 53 + 7 (publisher’s advertisements); a very good copy in the original brown cloth, gilt titling and decorative frame on the upper side; corners and extremities a little rubbed, some light soiling to the cover.


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An essay on man… with illustrations, and notes, by S. R. Wells.

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First edition thus: Pope’s Essay on man edited, with many notes, by the phrenologist Samuel Wells. ‘Looked at from a phrenological stand-point, this Poem exhibits rare beauties not seen, or rather not fully appreciated, by other eyes’ (preface). Phrenological thinking was influential in 19th-century psychiatry. Wells’ notes here combine his discipline’s mixture of neuroanatomy and moral philosophy with textual criticism in a remarkable, if idiosyncratic, reading of a classic.

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