London: Printed for W. Innys and R. Manby…, 1737. First edition. A significant book in eighteenth-century literary criticism. Old ink initials on title-page, a little light foxing. A very good copy. Contemporary panelled calf, expertly rebacked and recornered in modern calf, burgundy morocco label. Octavo. , 365, [3, ads] pp. Item #11643
The second of Manwaring’s books on prosody, following Stichology: Or, A Recovery of the Latin, Greek and Hebrew Numbers (1737) and before Of Harmony and Numbers, in Latin and English Prose (1744). “Manwaring approaches the writing of poetry almost as if it were a mathematical process, in form at least, though not in inspiration. Good poetry will conform to certain principles of organization and order, among them the use o metre, or ‘numbers’; without numbers in poetry, we lose order, Symmetry and Beauty of Parts’ (Stichology). The best interpreters of metrical order in poetry are ‘those who apply the Rules of Musick and Geometry to Poetry.’ There is a very real sense in Manwaring’s writings on metre that poetry without order and metrical shape cannot contain idea” (John Price in Dictionary of Eighteenth-Century Philosophers).