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TOOKE, John Horne (1736--1812)
Epea pteroenta, or, the diversions of Purley. ... By John Horne Tooke, A.M. ... Second edition.
London: printed for the author, at J. Johnson's, 1798--1805.
2 vols ; 27.7 cm. (4º)
Vol. I: [8], 534, [2] p. : frontis., [1] pl.
Vol. II: [8], 516, [36] p.

The first two words of the title are in Greek characters; the frontispiece is engraved by W. Sharp. Volume I first appeared in 1786 and vol. II in 1798; the latter's title-page lacks the edition statement. John Horne Tooke, well known as a radical politician since the 1770s, achieved notoriety when he faced trial with Thomas Holcroft on a charge of high treason in 1794. A friend of Godwin, Paine, Bentham, Boswell, Coleridge and other important figures, he was a strong advocate for parliamentary reform. His significance as a student of philology is that he was one of the first to see language as a process, part of a historical development rather than fixed. This work, consisting of a series of discussions on the English language, is the most important that Tooke undertook in this field. The errata page in vol. II includes a statement by the author regarding 'the Blanks in many of the pages', presumably omitted by a printer concerned about libel. Index to both volumes at the end of vol. II. ESTC t32791.

Copy Notes Bought from Robert Scholey for £3 on 25 July 1806. (Archive 16/12/34). Tipped-in at front of vol. I is a cutting of an obituary of Tooke, inscribed in ink in John Philip Kemble's hand Morning Chronicle, Satr. March 21st 1812, to which is additionally attached a chit inscribed in ink London Sept. 30 1797 / Recd of J. Kemble Esqr. the sum of Two Pounds two shillings Subs & Tookes Diversions of Purley for J. Johnson. W. Dale. Inscribed in ink in Kemble's hand on recto of second fly leaf is a quotation in French from Du Cerceau: Reflex. sur la Poesie. Inscription in ink signed by J.P. Kemble on verso of title-page of vol. II: The blanks in this book are filled up from Mr Boaden's copy, in which they are supplied from Mr Horne Tooke's manuscript. Further, the blanks filled in MS. are enumerated in ink by Kemble on the errata sheet (Pt. II), following the author's statement concerning the blanks. Soane was an admirer of Kemble, whom he met through Francis Bourgeois.

Binding Early C19th calf, gilt roll-tooled and triple-ruled borders, armorial shield stamped in gilt on black morocco lettered 'Johannes Philippus Kemble', gilt-tooled spine, black morocco spine-labels, marbled edges.

Reference Number 482


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