Literature from the William Reese Company
Joseph Glanvill was perhaps the 17th century's greatest expert on witchcraft. Glanvill was a proponent of scientific investigation and supported religious tolerance, but he was also a believer in witches and the spirit world. Glanville was convinced that such spirits appeared in the Bible, and so to deny their existence would be to deny God, and to allow the Devil to triumph. Consequently, he developed what today seems an odd combination of beliefs, recognizing both scientific investigation and witchcraft. His book which focused on the spirit side is offered in a second edition from 1682, Saducismus Triumphatus: or Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions. Cotton Mather would seize upon this side of Glanvill's teachings to tacitly support the very bad behavior of authorities in Salem, Massachusetts, a few years later. Item 333. $2,750.
Some other evils, though not quite as greatly so, are expounded upon in Serious Reflections on the Dangerous Tendency of the Common Practice of Card-Playing...in a Letter...to His Friend Abraham Nixon... The stated author is Gyles Smith, probably a pseudonym as this work also appeared under another name. He was concerned with university students spending too much time gaming instead of studying, an issue that still has not gone away, though this book is two and one-half centuries old. However, what really gives me the creeps about this book is the name of the author's friend -- Abraham Nixon. It sounds like a grotesque amalgam of names of U.S. presidents, somehow managing to combine the best with the worst. Okay, maybe with the second worst. Item 652. $950.
Item 729 is a hand written note from H.G. Wells, evidently in response to a request for an autograph. Wells clearly had a sense of humor. He writes, "Mrs. Montrose wants me to do an autograph / (How I hate doing autographs) / ...It is an impudent enough thing to write Books / (But I can bring myself to do that) / But to write autographs! / Setting down simply one's name / For the sake of doing it! / Ugh! / I almost forgot it / Here -- is the beastly autograph." It is signed "H. G. Wells." $1,500.
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