The Centaur Not Fabulous. In Six Letters to a Friend on the Life in Vogue.

YOUNG Edward (1783)


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New Edition. 12mo (172 x 95mm). 195, [1], pp., with engraved frontispiece and half-title. Ink manuscript annotations throughout with much crossing-out and underlining [see below], off-setting from frontispiece onto title-page. Contemporary sheep, spine ruled in gilt (boards rubbed, corners bumped, hinges split (but holding), endleaves browned by turn-ins, headcaps missing).

London: printed by A. Mallard. J. Durfey, E. Nelson, W. Newton, R. Stanton, P. Hammond, H. Thornton, D. Waterson, E. Watson, F. Newington, W. Stoddart, and P. Bland, 1783.

First published in 1755. A new edition of Edward Young's (1683-1765) The Centaur Not Fabulous. In Six Letters to a Friend, on the Life in Vogue. The "Friend" is Samuel Richardson. This work of satire lampoons Young's irreligious contemporaries, who resemble mythical beasts that are no longer "fabulous" but dangerously real. Each letter comes with its own half-title.


With 23 lengthy manuscript annotations, 25 pointing hands, copious underlining and entire passages of text crossed-out by by Walter Acton Moseley throughout. 


Acton Moseley rebukes the author on doctrines of faith throughout, accusing him of "begging the question" with "premature conclusion[s]" and responding to his defence of Trinitarianism with the phrase "blasphemous jargon". Where Young writes the risks of "dethroning reason", Moseley asks "where does the author rank?". Acton Moseley refers some passages to others, pointing out perceived hypocrisy. One annotation also makes reference to the French Revolution. Acton Moseley clearly had a sense of himself as a guide to the copy's next reader, most obviously shown when he writers on Letter VI's half-title that the letter is "not worth reading, except those very few passages I have marked". He especially recommends Young's apology. It is here Acton Moseley begins to cross out entire pages, guiding his future readers to skip and "go on to p. 168".


Acton-Moseley's copy of Thomas Nettleton's Some thoughts concerning virtue and happiness (1736) and Reformatio legvm ecclesiasticarvm (London, 1641) are both in the Folger library.


Provenance: Walter Acton Moseley (d 1793), Sheriff of Staffordshire, ink signature on front pastedown dated 1783. With a note stating that the book was purchased at auction.  


Stock Code: 231804

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