Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #85 begins on 10 Sep 2020

US Auction #3 begins on 13 Aug 2020

Edward Young

The Centaur not Fabulous in Six Letters to a Friend On The Life in Vogue 1760

Published: A. Millar in the Strand; and R. and J. Dodsley in Pallmall, London, 1760

Edition: 3rd Edition

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The Third Edition, corrected 1760 (1755);LONDON, printed for A. Millar in the Strand; and R. and J. Dodsley in Pallmall. 16mo., 10cm x 17cm, 281 pp. Full leather, 5 raised bands to spine. Steel engraving frontispiece. 

Contents: Dedication to the LADY; Letter 1 on Infidelity; Letter II – IV on Pleasure; Letter V – Life’s Review, the General Cause of Security in Sin, Thoughts for Age; Letter VI – The Dignity of Man, The Centaurs Restoration to Humanity, the Conclusion; Postscript. 

In March 1755 Young published The Centaur not Fabulous in five letters ‘addressed to a friend’, that is, [Samuel] Richardson, who helped with its revision. Divided into six letters in the first of two revised editions that year, this prose satire and homily was directed at licentious and irreligious contemporaries who, misguided by ‘infidel’ philosophers like Lord Bolingbroke, resembled the fabled beasts. Here as elsewhere Young stressed human dignity as a “bulwark against hedonism and atheism."

Edward Young, English poet and dramatist, was born at Upham in Hampshire on July 3rd, 1683. He was educated at Winchester College and at New College and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. After a disappointing political career he took holy orders in 1724. In 1728 he became a royal chaplain, and in 1730 he obtained the college living of Welwyn, where he spent the rest of his life. He achieved great renown for a Christian apologetic inspired by the deaths of his wife and stepdaughter, his long poem The Complaint, or Night Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality (1742-45). It was translated into numerous languages and was influential, both in England and on the Continent. In France it became a classic of the romantic school and in Germany it inspired the ‘Sturm-und-Drang’ movement. Young died at Welwyn in Hertfordshire on April 5th 1765. Samuel Johnson noted that “with all his defects he was a man of genius and a poet.” He is particularly remembered for his gift of epigram. 

Condition: Damage to spine tips; front cover loose, scuffed and scratched and worn at corners and edges. Binding damaged in places, but in general fairly tight. End papers stained and slight age-toning throughout. Young’s Epitaph in Welwyn Churchyard written out by hand on first recto page. The name ‘J Hands’ written in ink on title page. The name ‘Browne’ written in ink on the first page of the dedication.  Poor to Fair.

  • Binding Condition: Poor
  • Overall Condition: Poor to fair
  • Size: 10cm x 17cm
  • Sold By: The Smokey Owl
  • Contact Person: Carol Hayman
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: cahayman@mweb.co.za
  • Telephone: +27827793318
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Electronic Transfers, PayPal
  • Trade Associations: AA Approved


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