Alan Argent (ed.), The Richard Baxter Treatises: A Catalogue and Guide, Boydell & Brewer, 2018, 292pp, ISBN 9781783272921,
Publisher’s note: ‘Richard Baxter (1615-1691) was among the most prominent English nonconformist divines. Baxter found common ground with the Puritans but sought unity among Protestants in general. A highly independent thinker, he had opinions – and often expressed them – about every major controversy in England during his lifetime. He wrote over 140 published works, among them long, controversial discourses on doctrine but also polemical works against Quakers, Baptists and Roman Catholics, among others. Baxter found himself a peacemaker during the English Civil Wars: a chaplain for the parliamentary army, he also supported the restoration of the king. As a moderate, Baxter was a target for both extremes. He eventually registered himself as ‘a meer Nonconformist’, breaking with the Church of England because of his opposition to its form of episcopacy. He suffered bouts of imprisonment for his religious views and conduct during the reigns of Charles II and James II. Dr Williams’s Library, London contains most of Baxter’s extant manuscripts, including several ‘volumes’ of his unpublished ‘Treatises’, numbering roughly 369 items in total. The volumes, ranging from the 1630s to 1690s, consist of tracts, disputations, sermons, exercises, letters, miscellaneous papers and drafts, some of which were later incorporated into Baxter’s published autobiographical writings, Reliquiae Baxterianae (1696). The treatises themselves, however, have been largely overlooked. Here, they are catalogued with clear summaries of their content, and they afford rich opportunities for research. This catalogue, the first detailed listing and description for 150 years, provides a physical description and a scholarly outline of each treatise. A comprehensive introduction sets these papers in context’.
Polly Ha (ed.), with Consultant Editor Jonathan D. Moore and Consultant Editor Edda Frankot, The Puritans on Independence: The First Examination, Defence, and Second Examination, Oxford, 2017, 448pp., ISBN: 9780199664825.
Publisher’s note: ‘The Puritans on Independence sheds light on the rise of new claims by puritans to freedom as ‘independence’ several decades earlier than modern scholarship has assumed. This critical edition of long-lost English manuscripts provides access to a set of treatises which are the most significant hitherto unpublished texts for understanding puritan debate over this concept of liberty. Although once mis-catalogued as anti-separatist polemic, they in fact document the presbyterians’ clandestine ‘First Examination’ of Henry Jacob’s argument for ‘independent’ liberty and ecclesiology. It includes Jacob’s ‘Defence’ of his early congregational experiment in response to the ‘First Examination’. The volume concludes with the presbyterians’ ‘Second Examination’ of Jacob’s ‘Defence’ in 1620, written several years after the erection of Jacob’s independent church in Southwark. This work provides unprecedented insight into divisions among the godly in England before the public contentions over church government in the Westminster Assembly during the mid-seventeenth century. The introductory chapter traces the development of radical notions of liberty among puritans over the first half of the seventeenth century through to the English Revolution. All this had a lasting impact well beyond the British Isles and the early modern period. The edition will be of interest to early modern and modern scholars across many disciplines, from history and divinity to English literature and political science.’
L’Unigenitus en frontière de catholicité: Pierre de Langle et ses correspondants (1711-1724), Honore Champion, 2016, 688pp, ISBN 9782745329912.
Publisher’s note: ‘Protégé de Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet et précepteur du comte de Toulouse, fils de Louis XIV, Pierre de Langle est nommé, en 1698, évéque de Boulogne-sur-Mer. Proche des Noailles, l’évêque boulonnais s’oppose à la bulle Unigenitus, fulminée le 8 septembre 1713, qui condamnait 101 propositions extraites des Réflexions morales de Pasquier Quesnel. Au cœur du réseau international janséniste, le corpus de 366 lettres, écrites entre 1711 et 1724, rassemblées dans cet ouvrage, dévoile le cheminement de la pensée des prélats jansénistes qui mène à l’appel des quatre évêques en 1717 et permet de mieux comprendre ce que fut la «querelle de la bulle Unigenitus » dans le royaume de France et en Europe du Nord.
Philippe Moulis, docteur en histoire moderne, est chercheur associé au centre Pléiade de l’Université de Paris 13. Il a écrit de nombreux articles sur le jansénisme aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles. Il est membre de la Société des Amis de Port-Royal et collabore régulièrement aux Chroniques de Port-Royal.’
A Collection of Ranter Writings: Spiritual Liberty and Sexual Freedom in the English Revolution, ed. Nigel Smith, 2nd edition (revised), Pluto Press, 2014, 288pp, ISBN 9780745333618.
Publisher’s note: ‘The Ranters – like the Levellers and the Diggers – were a group of religious libertarians who flourished during the English Civil War (1642–1651), a period of social and religious turmoil which saw, in the words of the historian Christopher Hill, ‘the world turned upside down’. A Collection of Ranter Writings is the most notable attempt to anthologise the key Ranter writings, bringing together some of the most remarkable, visionary and unforgettable texts. The subjects range from the limits to pleasure and divine right, to social justice and collective action. The Ranters have intrigued and captivated generations of scholars and philosophers. This carefully curated collection will be of great interest to historians, philosophers and all those trying to understand past radical traditions.’
Seeking Truth: Roger North’s Notes on Newton and Correspondence with Samuel Clarke c.1704-1713, ed. Jamie C. Kassler, Ashgate, 2014, 392pp, ISBN 9781409449218.
Publisher’s note: ‘In the early 1690s Roger North was preparing to remove from London to Rougham, Norfolk, where he planned to continue his search for truth, which for him meant knowledge of nature, including human nature. But this search was interrupted by three events. First, between c.1704 and the early part of 1706, he read Newton’s book on rational (quantitative) mechanics and, afterwards, his book on optics in Clarke’s Latin translation. Second, towards the latter part of 1706, he and Clarke, a Norfolk clergyman, corresponded about matters relating to Newton’s two books, after which Clarke removed to London and the correspondence ceased. Third, in 1712 North received a letter from Clarke, requesting him to read and respond to his new publication on the philosophy of the Godhead. As Kassler details, each of these events presented a number of challenges to North’s values, as well as the way of philosophising he had learned as a student and practitioner of the common law. Because he never made public his responses to the challenges, her book also includes editions of North’s notes on reading Newton’s books, as well as what now remains of the 1706 and later correspondence with Clarke. In addition, she presents analyses of some of North’s ‘second thoughts’ about the issues raised in the notes and 1706 correspondence and, from an examination of Clarke’s main writings, provides a context for understanding the correspondence relating to the 1712 book.’
Publisher’s note: ‘This is the fourth volume to be published in Oxford’s 11-volume edition of the Complete Works of John Milton, the first complete scholarly edition for nearly 100 years. It brings together (for the first time in a single volume) Milton’s English writing in prose on the political issues that exercised him throughout his life – civil and religious liberty, republicanism and the constitution of a free commonwealth, the rights and duties of citizens, resistance of tyranny and the role of military force in securing national stability. The eleven pieces here presented in chronological order, from The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates (1649) to Milton’s last prose work, his translation of the proclamation announcing the election of John Sobieski as King of Poland (1674), articulate his responses to the unprecedented events of the seventeenth century – civil war, regicide, the Commonwealth, Cromwellian rule, the Restoration of monarchy and the restored Stuart regime — events which shaped the social, political and religious structures of modern Britain. They do so with unrivalled polemical and rhetorical skill, instinct with revolutionary fervour and political idealism. Each title is freshly edited from newly examined and collated copies of either the first and subsequent seventeenth-century editions or of the manuscript record to give the most accurate and authoritative texts. A headnote to each analyses and discusses (often with new evidence) its composition, production and reception. A very substantial general introduction sets the writings in the context of European intellectual history and of contemporary British controversy and polemic. References and allusions to events and to texts are elucidated by full and detailed annotation and commentary which takes full account of recent Milton scholarship but also often draws on original research. Taken together, these features constitute the definitive edition of these texts for the 21st century. Both editors are established seventeenth-century scholars with expertise particularly in the political and religious literature of the Civil War, Interregnum and Restoration periods.’
The Complete Works of John Milton: Volume VIII: De Doctrina Christiana, ed. John K. Hale, J. Donald Cullington, Gordon Campbell and Thomas N. Corns, Oxford University Press, 2012, 1,376pp, ISBN 9780199234516.
Publisher’s note: ‘The second of eleven volumes of Milton’s Complete Works to be published contains his systematic theology, De Doctrina Christiana. It is his longest work and was, Milton said, his dearest possession. In it, he works out his religious beliefs from Scripture; what Scripture does not mention, such as the Trinity, he energetically refutes. The work exists in manuscript and was written in Latin for European as well as home consumption. Its chapters are conceived and arranged according to the binarizing logic devised by the Protestant martyr Ramus. De Doctrina Christiana first appeared in print nearly two hundred years ago but the previous editions are now overdue for replacement. For this ground-breaking edition, the manuscript has been freshly transcribed, with fuller textual apparatus and commentary than in any of its few predecessors. The edition aims above all at accuracy, clarity, and completeness, presenting Latin and English on facing pages, amplifying the Biblical citations where necessary, and adding extensive annotations not only on the text and its transcription but also on the content and context of Milton’s ideas. The provenance and history of the work are expertly narrated, enabling readers to get closer than ever before to its composition. Milton’s Latin is examined in unprecedented detail, and the translation aims to reproduce the nuances and changes of register which characterize his Latin in all its individuality – from the high-flown rhetoric of his arguments in favour of divorce and polygamy, and against tithing, to the plainer style of those sections where he states his main points more dispassionately but bolsters them with strong and wide-ranging Biblical support. The structure of this massive edifice is clarified by the addition of charts which show the Ramist scheme he followed, whereby the primary division between faith (Book One) and worship (Book Two) is mirrored by smaller and smaller subdivisions whose relationship to the whole can be seen at a glance.’
The Complete Works of John Milton: Volume III: The Shorter Poems, ed. Barbara Kiefer Lewalski and Estelle Haan, Oxford University Press, 2012, 826pp, ISBN 9780199609017.
Publisher’s note: ‘Volume III of the new eleven-volume edition of Milton’s Complete Works from the Oxford University Press provides a definitive scholarly edition of all of Milton’s shorter poems in English, Italian, Latin, and Greek, as well as his Mask, taken from both published and manuscript sources. It presents his 1645 Poems complete, with all prefatory materials, to display the ways in which author, publisher, and printshop shaped this volume. It then presents all the new poems added in the 1673 edition (with the new Table of Contents), and the poems omitted from both editions. A careful collation of textual variants among these sources as well as the 1637 anonymous publication of Milton’s Mask is provided. Also, the Bridgewater manuscript version of Milton’s Mask (close to the acting version), and his working copy from the Trinity Manuscript, with its many alterations and additions, are transcribed in their entirety, so that the various versions may be compared and studied. A special feature of this edition is the new translation of Milton’s many Latin and Greek poems that is both accurate and attentive to their literary quailities. Also, it supplies a poetic translation of Milton’s six italian sonnets and Canzone. In addition, it presents in Appendices, of all the versions of Milton’s shorter poems in all the contemporary manuscript and printed sources, so they may be compared and examined in relation to their specific contexts. The transcription of all the versions of Milton’s poems in the Trinity Manuscript allows in several cases, notably ‘Lycidas’ and ‘At a Solemn Music’, for examination of the evolution of these poems as Milton weighed choices of diction and sound qualities and so enables further understanding of his poetic practices. Introductory essays address the occasions and circumstances for all these poems, the poetic development of the Vernacular poems as Milton worked in several genres, and for his Latin and Greek Poemata it provides an overview of Milton’s achievement as a Neo-Latin poet, as well as a detailed account of the criticism pertaining to each poem. A Textual Introduction discusses all of the sources, printed and manuscript, in which Milton’s poems appear, points up special features of many copies of both collected editions as well as the volume in which Milton’s ‘Lycidas’ was first published (Justa Edouardo King naufrago), and indicates the marginalia and other notes supplied by several contemporary readers. As an aid to both students and scholars, the Commentary sections provide word definitions from the OED, highlighting occasions when Milton’s usage was the earliest one recorded, and also identify biblical, classical, historical, and geographical allusions and references, and some relevant critical studies of particular elements.’
The Diary of Robert Woodford, 1637-1641, ed. John Fielding, Camden 5th series, vol. 42, Cambridge University Press for the Royal Historical Society, 2012.
Publisher’s note: ‘Woodford’s diary, here published in full for the first time with an introduction, provides a unique insight into the puritan psyche and way of life. Woodford is remarkable for the consistency of his worldview, interpreting all experience through the spectacles of godly predestinarianism. His journal is a fascinating source for the study of opposition to the Personal Rule of Charles I and its importance in the formation of Civil War allegiance, demonstrating that the Popish Plot version of politics, held by parliamentary opposition leaders in the 1620s, had by the 1630s been adopted by provincial people from the lower classes. Woodford went further than some of his contemporaries in taking the view that, even before the outbreak of the Bishops’ Wars, government policies had discredited episcopacy, and cast grave doubt on the king’s religious soundness. Conversely, he regarded parliament as the seat of virtue and potential saviour of the nation.’
The Minutes and Papers of the Westminster Assembly, 1643-1652, ed. Chad Van Dixhoorn (consultant editor David F. Wright), 5 vols, Oxford University Press, 2012, ISBN 9780199206834.
Publisher’s note: ‘For more than ten years the Westminster assembly was one of the major institutions of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Members of the assembly were involved in every significant political debate of the decade, and the public blamed or blessed the think-tank for radical changes in the church. At home and abroad, people perceived the assembly to be a powerful patron. Christians wrote from Europe to ask the assembly for advice. Visitors made their way to the abbey, from an unknown Muslim to the elector palatine of the Rhine. Printers and booksellers promoted the works of the synod’s theologians and members were paraded down London streets and feasted at banquets. The story of the Westminster assembly’s accomplishments, as well as its failures, are told in the texts of this edition. The gathering left behind an extraordinary testimony of its reforming activities, and the manuscript minutes constitute one of the most important unpublished religious texts of seventeenth-century Britain. All surviving votes and debates of the assembly are provided here for the first time. This edition documents almost 2,000 examinations of preachers for churches, fellows for colleges, and heretics for heresy. It also includes all known assembly papers, many of them only recently discovered. These texts reveal much of the assembly’s work behind the scenes, and explain how the gathering could at once serve as an icon of godly rule, producing classic texts in the history of Christian doctrine and practice, while simultaneously becoming entangled in prolonged debates and the ‘democratic anarchy’ which characterized the British Revolution.’
English Nonconformist Poetry, 1660–1700, ed. George Southcombe, 3 vols, Pickering and Chatto, 2012, ISBN 9781851969654.
Publisher’s note: ‘After the upheavals of the Civil War, religious dissent became a recognized fact of life in England and was finally, if incompletely, accepted in the Toleration Act of 1689. Nonconformists, although constituting a relatively small proportion of the population, produced a volume of printed material which belied their numbers. This body of work was heterogeneous and used for an enormous variety of purposes. In this, the first scholarly edition of nonconformist poetry, the editor draws together a representative selection of dissenting poetry.The multi-faceted nature of dissenting verse is demonstrated, from the sonnets of the Quaker Martin Mason to the self-consciously ‘witty’ acrostic used to commemorate the Fifth Monarchist Vavasor Powell’s death, to the Quaker schismatic John Perrot’s ‘A sea of the seed’s sufferings’. The edition is also the first to give extensive coverage to some of the most prolific and significant nonconformist poets, in particular, the Baptist Benjamin Keach and Robert Wild. ‘English Nonconformist Poetry’ probes the boundaries of the poetic canon and provides the materials by which a set of silenced voices might be recovered and studied in their own right, thus revealing the cultural debt England’s literary heritage owes to the dissenting tradition.The edition will contain extensive new editorial material, including a general introduction, headnotes, endnotes, textual variants, a chronology, a first line index and a title index. It will be important for scholars studying Early Modern Literature and History, Bunyan, Milton, and Religious Studies.’
The Cockermouth Congregational Church Book (1651-c.1765), ed. R. B. Wordsworth, Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, 2012, ISBN 9781873124550.
The Minutes of the Antrim ministers’ meeting, 1654-1658, ed. Mark S. Sweetnam, Four Courts Press, 2012, ISBN 9781846823299.
Publisher’s note: ‘These minutes record the business conducted at the regular meetings of the Presbyterian ministers and elders who formed the leadership of the predominantly Ulster-Scots community in Antrim. They provide an unparalleled insight into the concerns and pressures that helped to shape the identity and inform the practice of that community in a precarious and difficult period, as they enjoyed a brief period of toleration under the Cromwellian regime. These minutes are of outstanding historical value, not least because they are among the earliest surviving records of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. In addition, the meetings’ concentration on the details of everyday life provides us with information that cannot easily be reconstructed from other sources. The minutes appear here in print for the first time, with a comprehensive introduction and apparatus.’
The Works of Lucy Hutchinson: Volume I: The Translation of Lucretius, ed. Reid Barbour and David Norbrook, Oxford University Press, 2012.
Publisher’s note: ‘This is the first volume in the four-volume edition of The Works of Lucy Hutchinson, the first-ever collected edition of the writings of the pioneering author and translator. Hutchinson (1620-81) had a remarkable range of her interests, from Latin poetry to Civil War politics and theology. This edition of her translation of Lucretius’s De rerum natura offers new biographical material, demonstrating the changes and unexpected continuities in Hutchinson’s life between the work’s composition in the 1650s and its dedication in 1675. Hers is the first complete surviving English translation of one of the great classical epics, a challenging text at the borderlines of poetry and philosophy. For the first time, the Lucretius translation is made available alongside the Latin text Hutchinson used, which differs in innumerable ways from versions known today. The commentary, the fullest in any edition of a literary translation, provides multiple ways into further understanding of the translation and its contexts. Written at a momentous period in political and literary history, Hutchinson’s Lucretius throws light on the complex transition between ‘ancient’ and ‘modern’ conceptions of the classical canon and of natural philosophy.It offers a case study in the history of reading, and more specifically of reading by a woman. Through close comparison with three contemporary translations, this edition situates Hutchinson’s version in the context of the shifting poetic languages of the seventeenth century, and facilitates an approach to Lucretius’ often rebarbative Latin. It further demonstrates the remarkable ways in which Hutchinson’s engagement with this ‘atheistical’ poem leaves deep traces on her later, militantly Calvinist prose and verse.’
Bishop Wake’s Summary of Visitation Returns from the Diocese of Lincoln 1706-1715, ed. John Broad, 2 vols, Oxford University Press, 2012, 940pp, ISBN 9780197265185 (vol. 1) 9780197265192 (vol. 2).
Publisher’s note: ‘The Visitation returns of William Wake, Bishop of Lincoln 1705-16, shed light on the history of over 1200 villages and the people who lived in them in six counties of England in the early years of the eighteenth century. Covering Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, they contain detailed information about the population, religious affiliations, schooling, charities, church attendance, and much besides. Many individuals are named, particularly non-conformist preachers and those who transgressed church laws or were baptized as adults. Bishop Wake’s Summary of Visitation Returns from the Diocese of Lincoln 1706-15 is published in two parts. Part 1 contains a comprehensive introduction to Bishop Wake and the Visitation returns. Documents included in this volume cover parishes in the Archdeaconries of Stow and Lincoln. Transcriptions of the summaries of the Visitations in 1706, 1709, and 1712 are given, together with additional material from the original returns from those years, and from 1715. Part 2 completes the survey, covering parishes in the Archdeaconries of Huntingdon, Bedford, Leicester and Buckingham. Transcriptions of the summaries of the Visitations in 1706, 1709, and 1712 are given, together with additional material from the original returns from those years, and from 1715. Appendices contain the text of Bishop Wake’s questionnaires. There is a comprehensive index of places mentioned in Parts 1 and 2.’
Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840, Part I, ed. Julia B Griffin, 4 vols, Routledge, 2011, 1712pp, ISBN 9781851961443; Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840, Part II, ed. Timothy Whelan, 8 vols, 1904pp, ISBN 9781851961542.
Publisher’s note: ‘These volumes will present, in some cases for the first time, the lives and works of a coterie of Nonconformist women writers from the West Country.’
New College, Hackney (1786-96): A Selection of Printed and Archival Sources, ed. Stephen Burley, second edition, revised 2011.
Author’s note: ‘This online edition makes accessible for the first time a range of printed and archival material relating to the chequered history of the College. It presents comprehensive lists of its members and a detailed chronology of its history, before tracing the rise and fall of the institution from selections of manuscript correspondence, biographical memoirs, newspaper articles, and poems. As the first attempt to recover the history of New College for more than eighty years, it is hoped that this publication will foster an appreciation of the role that the College played in the religious, educational, political, and intellectual life of the late eighteenth century.’
Dissenting Education and the Legacy of John Jennings, c.1720-c.1729, ed. Tessa Whitehouse, second edition, revised 2011.
Author’s note: ‘As part of the project to found a new academy, Doddridge spread knowledge of Jennings’s unusual and innovative educational methods and curriculum among other dissenters. His correspondents on the subject included the minister and educational writer Isaac Watts (1674-1748). This edition gathers transcriptions of materials relating to Jennings’s academy. Three of the items are published here for the first time, and the other two have been incompletely transcribed and misdated in previous publications. There is a summary of the problems of attribution and transcription that have affected these materials in the introduction to ‘An Account of Mr Jennings’s Method’. The items collected give a full picture of the subjects taught, the books studied, the rules followed and the extra-curricular activities permitted at Jennings’s academy, as well as Doddridge’s proposed changes to the course, and suggestions from Isaac Watts. The materials also offer social and cultural insights: a sketch by Doddridge of Jennings’s personality tells us much about memorial forms; and the selection offers insights into epistolary culture of the 1720s, the appropriate modes of exchange between generations, and the importance to both Watts and Doddridge of the idea of tutors as mentors.’
The Diary of Thomas Larkham, 1647-1669, ed. Susan Hardman Moore, Boydell Press, 2011, ISBN 9781843837053.
Publisher’s note: ‘Thomas Larkham kept his ‘diary’ – an account book with spiritual musings and autobiographical notes – throughout his time as Vicar of Tavistock, Devon, and on into his days as a nonconformist apothecary in the town. Only fragments have appeared in print before. This edition provides a new resource for exploring religion and daily life in Interregnum and Restoration England. Larkham’s life captures the twists and turns a clerical career could take in the 17th century. He went to New England in the 1630s, then came back and joined the Parliamentary army. As Vicar of Tavistock in the 1650s, he took a controversial path. He preached to the parish at large but restricted baptism and communion to an ever smaller circle. Local resentment erupted in a no-holds-barred pamphlet war. A watershed came in 1660. Larkham scored a thick black line in his diary under these words: ‘The Lords day Oct. 21. I left mine imployment of preaching in feare & upon demand of the Patron’. The entries that follow show how his fortunes changed as a result – prisoner, fugitive preacher, Tavistock apothecary. The diary illuminates the private side of a turbulent public life. It is intriguing both for what it includes and for what has to be read between the lines. The edition also includes two rare tracts – Naboth and Judas hanging himselfe – from the vociferous debate his activities provoked. A substantial introduction sets Larkham and his diary in context. Susan Hardman Moore is Senior Lecturer in Divinity at the University of Edinburgh.’
The Moderate: Introduction et traduction, ed. Laurent Curelly, Publications de l’Université de Saint-Etienne, 2011, ISBN 9782862725932.
Publisher’s note: ‘Hebdomadaire radical publié en 1648-1649, The Moderate témoigne de la vitalité de la presse anglaise des années révolutionnaires pendant lesquelles les Îles britanniques connurent une nouvelle guerre civile, la seconde en moins de dix ans, l’exécution d’un roi, l’abolition de la monarchie et son remplacement par un régime républicain, expérience politique de courte durée qui aboutit au Protectorat de Cromwell. Les éditoriaux du journal, billets anonymes qui font l’objet de la présente traduction, se nourrissent d’une écriture polémique et contribuent au foisonnant débat d’idées qui accompagna les combats militaires et les violences civiles de l’époque. Faisant revivre certains épisodes de cette deuxième guerre civile, ils offrent un condensé narratif d’une des périodes les plus meurtrières de l’histoire britannique. Outre des récits de batailles, souvent éloignés des événements dont ils rendent compte, ils proposent une réflexion, inspirée de la pensée monarchomaque, sur la monarchie dont les travers sont résolument brocardés. Défendant avec force l’idée de souveraineté populaire, ils expriment les espoirs nés de la destitution du roi Charles I mais portent, presque au même moment, un regard désenchanté sur le régime oligarchique qui devait succéder à la royauté. Chemin faisant, ces billets se lisent en quelque sorte comme la chronique d’une révolution avortée.’
The Correspondence of Anthony Collins (1676-1729), Freethinker, ed. James Dybikowski, Honoré Champion, 2011, ISBN 9782745321145.
Publisher’s note: ‘Anthony Collins was cast in an unflattering light and dismissed out-of-hand by early critics who included the classical scholar Richard Bentley, the philosopher Bishop Berkeley and the satirist Jonathan Swift. His correspondence, particularly with John Locke – the most intense and seminal of his friendships – and Pierre Des Maizeaux – among the most protracted and certainly best documented, shows him very differently and sets the stage for a proper appreciation of the most penetrating and philosophically acute of the early 18th century English free-thinkers. Jim Dybikowski is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia. Starting as a specialist in Greek Philosophy, he has more recently focused on 18th century intellectual mavericks such as the free thinker Anthony Collins and the priest of nature David Williams.’
The Complete Works of Gerrard Winstanley, ed. Thomas N. Corns, Ann Hughes and David Loewenstein, Oxford University Press, 2010, ISBN 9780199576067.
Publisher’s note: ‘This is the first edition of the complete works of Gerrard Winstanley (1609-76), the foremost radical social thinker and activist of the English Revolution. It is the only edition to observe the standards of modern scholarly editing. The editorial team combines the expertise of acclaimed prize-winning literary scholars and a leading historian of seventeenth-century England. It sets a new standard in the presentation of controversial prose of the period of the English Civil War. Its substantial introduction establishes Winstanley’s distinctive contributions to political thought and radical religion and elucidates his literary achievements, while the annotation elucidates the wealth of his biblical allusion and his engagement with the politics of his day. This edition ensures Winstanley’s standing as one of the most significant prose writers and radical thinkers of early modern England. All scholars and students of English literature, history, religion, and political thought will want to use this book.’
The Entring Book of Roger Morrice (1677-1691), ed. Mark Goldie et al., 5 vols, Boydell Press, 2009, 3440pp, ISBN 9781843834304.
Publisher’s note: ‘Compiled between the years 1677 and 1691, the Entring Book is 900,000 words long, with many sensitive passages written in a secret shorthand that has only recently been decoded. This remarkable chronicle of public affairs has remained for nearly three centuries, secure but little known, in Dr Williams’s Library, London. The Entring Book fits no simple definition. It is not just a political diary, nor is it only the newsletter it sometimes resembles. It’s possible that it could have been the material for a history of Morrice’s own times, or it may have been a letterbook, recording correspondence to an unnamed recipient. Writing in great detail, with meticulous regularity, Morrice may have been passing on all he knew to senior figures in the opposition to Charles II and James II. The Entring Book’s enormous scope means it also covers publishing, plays, business, military and religious matters, foreign affairs, public opinion and London life, making it an essential resource. Through it we can trace the transformation of puritanism into Whiggery and Dissent. This seven volume set includes an introductory and an index volume as well as a biographical encyclopedia of names.’
The Complete Works of John Milton: Volume II: The 1671 Poems: Paradise Regain’d and Samson Agonistes, ed. Laura Lunger Knoppers, Oxford University Press, 2008, 280pp, ISBN 9780199296170.
Publisher’s note: ‘Bringing together literary criticism, historical bibliography, and religious, political, and print history, this volume offers a definitive scholarly edition of John Milton’s Paradise Regain’d and Samson Agonistes. The scrupulously-edited text is based on extensive collation of the 1671 and 1680 volumes. Drawing on new archival sources and up-to-date historiography, a detailed Introduction sets out the cultural, religious, and political contexts of 1670-71, including continuing opposition to the Restoration regime and the major contribution made to that opposition by publishers and print. While the meanings of the 1671 poems have been much discussed and debated, print and publishing history has been little addressed in teaching editions or scholarship. New archival materials on Milton’s publisher, John Starkey, and his printer, John Macock, open up the radical print networks in which Milton’s poems were produced, published, and circulated. The Textual Introduction and Headnote also provide a thorough discussion of the contributions of the printing house to the text. Reconstruction of the octavo sheets used in printing the text shows that multiple compositors worked on the text and thus helps to explain variant spelling and address longstanding issues of dating. A discussion of Milton’s bold transformation of classical epic and tragedy provides literary historical context. This edition also breaks new ground by including materials on early owners and readers, who actively shaped the texts with corrections, annotations, and references to biblical and classical sources. As an aid for students and scholars alike, Textual Commentary provides precise OED word definitions, identifies biblical, classical, historical, and geographical references, and explains Latin, Greek, and Hebrew usages.’
Protestant Nonconformist Texts, ed. R. Tudur Jones, Arthur Long, Alan P. F. Sell, David J. Hal, Ian Sellers, David W. Bebbington, Kenneth Rix, Alan Ruston, David M. Thompson, J. H. Y. Turner and John Munsey Turner, 4 vols, Ashgate, 2006-7.
Publisher’s note: ‘This is a series of four substantial volumes designed to demonstrate the range of interests of the several Protestant Nonconformist traditions from the time of their Separatist harbingers in the sixteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. It represents a major project of the Association of Denominational Historical Societies and Cognate Libraries. Each volume comprises a General Introduction followed by texts illustrative of such topics as theology, philosophy, worship and socio-political concerns. This work has never before been drawn together for publication in this way. Prepared by a team of twelve editors, all of whom are expert in their areas and drawn from a number of the relevant traditions, it will provide a much needed comprehensive view of Nonconformity told largely in the words of those whose story it is. The works will prove to be an invaluable resource to scholars, students, academics and specialist and public libraries, as well as to a wider range of church, intellectual and general historians.’
Publisher’s note: ‘A transcription giving members lists and the comings and goings of a Baptist Community based in and around Kensworth and St Albans (Beds., Bucks. and Herts.) from 1675 to 1810. This 140 page book includes an introduction, illustrations, map and index to 500 surnames and 200 places.’