[ARBUTHNOT, John]

Proposals for printing a very curious discourse, in two volumes in quarto, intitled, Pseudologia politikē; or, a treatise of the art of political lying, with an abstract of the first volume of the said treatise

$421
London: printed for John Morphew. 1712.

8vo. 182x118mm. pp. 22 [2pp. advertisements]. Sewn into modern grey wrappers. Final page has small stamp of Yale University Library Jun 18 19[81?]. In very good condition. John Arbuthnot (1667-1735) was highly regarded by contemporaries for his clever, supple mind and sharp pen. He was a member of the Scriblerus Club where he knew Pope and Swift (the latter is often said to have a hand in this work although he denied it) who admired Arbuthnot and felt that he should have taken greater credit for his talents as a writer, doctor and mathematician. More of his work would have survived had Arbuthnot not allowed his children to play with his manuscripts, scrawling over them and using them to light fires. Arbuthnot's thoughts on the art of political lying (which were never - and never meant - to progress beyond this short, entertaining, Proposal) are developed out of the simple idea of "convincing the People of Salutary Falshoods, for some good ends" and the alarmingly cynical view that "the People…have no Right at all to Political Truth". Of course, this is meant to be satire...but only just.

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