Description

    A Universal Language

    John Wilkins, Bishop of Chester. An Essay Towards a Real Character And a Philosophical Language. [With:] An Alphabetical Dictionary, Wherein all English Words According to their Specifications, Are either referred to their places in the Philosophical Tables, Or explained by such Words as are in those Tables. London: for Sa(muel) Gellibrand, and for John Martin, 1668. First edition. Two folio volumes in one. ¹2, a-d2, B-3M4, 3a4, 3A-3T4 [with blanks]. [20], 454, [2 blank]; [158] pages. Large device of Royal Society on title-page, four full-page plates (one folding), two large folding tables (complete). Contemporary mottled calf in panel design, rebacked with red morocco label, edges speckled red, stamp of Birkenhead Library, minor dampstain and wormhole at upper margin of first leaves), minor repair to corner of first two leaves (no text affected) a few other minor stains and edge worming, edge tear on G3 repaired with archival tissue. Overall a very clean, crisp copy with ample margins, Two small leaves of contemporary notes on the work are laid in. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
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    "[Wilkins'] Calls for a universal language had increased as a result of the flourishing of vernacular literature and an increasing dissatisfaction with Latin, partly with regard to the difficulty of learning it, but also with regard to its ambiguities and complexities. Wilkins rejected the approach of those who believed that the supposed language of Adam might be recovered, but tried to develop an artificial equivalent based upon a classification of knowledge. The vocabulary of this new language was to be built up by systematic modifications of the basic generic terms that were deemed to cover all the major categories of existence. A knowledge of the system would enable the reader, or listener, not just to recognize the signification of a word but also to understand how the referent fitted into the entire scheme of things. This is what made Wilkins's artificial language 'philosophical', not just universal in the sense that a unanimously agreed upon lingua franca would be." (Oxford DNB).

    Wing W2196 and W2176. ESTC r21115. Alston VII, 290 . Galland 202. Lowndes 2922. Kennedy 5469. Hazlitt II, 645. Young 377.

    Wilkins, John, Bishop of Chester. An Essay Towards a Real Character And a Philosophical Language. [With] An Alphabetical Dictionary, Wherein all English Words According to their Specifications, Are either referred to their places in the Philosophical Tables, Or explained by such Words as are in those Tables. London: for Sa(muel) Gellibrand, and for John Martin, 1668. Folio. 2 vols. in 1. ¹2, a-d2,B-3M4, 3a4,3A-3T4. [with blanks] [20], 454,[2 blank]; [158]p. Contemp. mottled calf in panel design, rebacked with red morocco label, edges speckled red, stamp of Birkenhead Library, minor dampstain & wormhole at upper margin of first leaves ),minor repair to corner of first two leaves (no text affected) a few other minor stains & edge worming but overall a very clean, crisp copy with ample margins, edge tear on G3 repaired with archival tissue. Two small leaves (150 x 95mm) of contemporary notes on the work are laid in. Large device of Royal Society on t.p.,4 full-page plates (one folding), 2 large folding tables (complete). First edition. Wilkins (1614-72) was a thorough mathematical and scientific genius, beloved by many of his contemporaries on both sides of the Civil War. This work, his greatest, culminates the 17th century movement toward the creation of a universal language. The first part deals with the origin of language, letters, etc., and serves as an introduction. The second part "is an enumeration and description of all those things and notions to which names are to be assigned"; part III treats the therry of grammar and phonetics; and part IV outlines his proposed alphabet. The last part, issued with a separate title and imprint, actually constitutes an index to the whole work.
    "[Wilkins]Calls for a universal language had increased as a result of the flourishing of vernacular literature and an increasing dissatisfaction with Latin, partly with regard to the difficulty of learning it, but also with regard to its ambiguities and complexities. Wilkins rejected the approach of those who believed that the supposed language of Adam might be recovered, but tried to develop an artificial equivalent based upon a classification of knowledge. The vocabulary of this new language was to be built up by systematic modifications of the basic generic terms that were deemed to cover all the major categories of existence. A knowledge of the system would enable the reader, or listener, not just to recognize the signification of a word but also to understand how the referent fitted into the entire scheme of things. This is what made Wilkins's artificial language ÔphilosophicalÕ, not just universal in the sense that a unanimously agreed upon lingua franca would be.[Oxford DNB] Wing W2196 and W2176.ESTC r21115. Alston VII,290 . Galland 202. Lowndes 2922. Kennedy 5469. Hazlitt II,645. Young 377. Wing. Language. Philosophy. Dictionaries. Memory. Occult. Cryptography. Linguistics. Artificial Language.



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    October, 2014
    8th Wednesday
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