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Ady, Thomas | A far more serious approach to debunking witchcraft than the witch skit in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"

Ady, Thomas | A far more serious approach to debunking witchcraft than the witch skit in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"

Ady, Thomas | A far more serious approach to debunking witchcraft than the witch skit in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"

Ady, Thomas

A Candle in the Dark: Or, a Treatise Concerning the Nature of Witches & Witchcraft. London: Printed for R[obert]. Ibbitson to be sold by Tho. Newberry at the Three Lions in Cornhill by the Exchange, 1656


4to (175 x 127 mm). Woodcut illustration on title-page, errata on A4, woodcut headpiece, initials, printer's ornaments; lacks A1 (blank), inside margin of title-page repaired, imprint cropped, moderate text browning throughout but occasionally more pronounced, a few headlines, catchwords and signatures shaved. Half polished biscuit calf over Dutch combed marbled boards, brown lettering-piece, edges stained red.


The Macclesfield copy. A reissue of the rare first edition, with a new title-page; the first issue locates Ibbitson in "Smithfield neer Hosier Lane End."


"Ady's book contains a determined onslaught of the doctrines of [James I's] Demonologie, and it is an important fact in the history of witchcraft in England, as Ferguson so rightly points out, that Ady found it necessary or considered it of importance, to confute that book sixty years after its first appearance. The influence of Demonologie must have been lasting if an exposure of the errors had to be undertaken in 1655" (Toole Stott 6).


Both the first edition and the reissue are equally scarce, Toole Stott locates five copies of the first and six copies of the reissue (including copies at the Huntington and Harvard University libraries). Copies of the first edition were sold at auction in 1950, 1982, and 1987. RBH records four copies of the reissue selling between 1893 and 1921 at Bangs and Anderson Galleries.


REFERENCE:

Exemplars, p. 81; ESTC R4820; Toole Stott 7; Wing A674


PROVENANCE:

The Earls of Macclesfield, Shirburn Castle (bookplate of the North Library dated 1869)

Condition as described in catalogue entry.


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