The Books of Tho. Hobbes

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There are four books that have been advertised in sales catalogues as possessing the inscription ‘Tho. Hobbes’ and having once been owned by Thomas Hobbes. But how confident can we be that they belonged to the famous philosopher? This research note gathers evidence for assessing whether or not this quartet of books were once in the possession of Hobbes of Malmesbury, with particular attention given to a previously undiscussed edition of Josuah Sylvester’s Devine Weekes and Workes (1611) sold to the University of Illinois in 1951 as Hobbes’s copy. The evidence is insufficient to connect any of the four books to Hobbes securely, and in at least one case an Oxford undergraduate of the same name emerges as a stronger candidate. This conclusion confirms that the catalogues at Chatsworth are our principal source for knowing which books Hobbes might have read.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-253
JournalHobbes Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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