1697 Reflections Upon Ancient and Modern Learning, William Wotton. Leake, London.


Wotton's second edition, "with Large Additions", of his treatise regarding Ancient and Modern Learning, an important work largely because Wotton was the first to describe William Harvey's work and learnings regarding the circulation of blood. Published as a counter-point to another scholar, the argument later satirized by Jonathan Swift.

At the time of publication, Wotton was engaging in an intellectual battle regarding whether ancient or modern learning was more important. Here Wotton directly responds to a published work by Sir William Temple on the same subject; "(Wotton) praised the Moderns in most but not all branches of learning, conceding the superiority of the Ancients in poetry, art, and oratory. The primary points of contention were then quickly clouded and confused, but eventually two main issues emerged: whether literature progressed from antiquity to the present as science did, and whether, if there was progress, it was linear or cyclical. These matters were seriously and vehemently discussed. Jonathan Swift, defending his patron Temple, satirized the conflict in his Tale of a Tub (1704), and, more importantly, in The Battle of the Books (1704)." - Encyclopedia Britannica

Provenance -

Bookplate of the Rugby School, specifically the Hodgson Bequest. Also with the ex-libris ticket of Hodgson, "S. H. H.", a 19th century British theologian.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 19 x 12 x 3.5 cm, 8vo. Calf binding, very lightly mottled. Boards framed in blind with double fillet. Spine with five raised bands; five compartments with central blind decoration (four florets in a compass-like arrangement) and one compartment with the title in gilt on black morocco.

Pages - (8 leaves, not paginated), xxxii, 421, (3), 152

Collation (complete) - A8, a-z8, Aa-Dd8, Ee4

Condition -

See pictures. Very handsome binding (fresh), with the older spine re-used. Rugby School ex-libris and Shadworth Hodgson bookplate applied to paste-down. Refreshed paste-down/flyleaf. Title page foxed in the shape of a square (likely something was facing it); small mark in upper-right margin, no text affected. Light foxing, mostly near edges, throughout. Occasional thumb, spot and dog-eared page. Ink smudge margin of 49 and ghosted on facing page. Smudge margin of 110. Page number written next to titles on second title-page. Small repair at bottom of 2nd p3. Moisture mark at upper-right edges, marginal only, from 2nd title to end. Last several gatherings toned/foxed, *H-*K, or page 113 to end.

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