Book Review

John Aubrey: Brief Lives with an Apparatus for the Lives of our English Mathematical Writers. Edited by KateBennett. 2 vols. Oxford University Press. 2015. clvii + 1,776pp. £250.00

Citation

Jackson Williams K (2016) John Aubrey: Brief Lives with an Apparatus for the Lives of our English Mathematical Writers. Edited by KateBennett. 2 vols. Oxford University Press. 2015. clvii + 1,776pp. £250.00. Review of: John Aubrey: Brief Lives with an Apparatus for the Lives of our English Mathematical Writers. Edited by Kate Bennett. 2 vols. Oxford University Press. 2015. clvii + 1,776pp. History, 101 (344), pp. 135-137. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-229x.12160

Abstract
First paragraph: The antiquary, natural philosopher, biographer and polymath John Aubrey (1626–97) has been ill served by his editors. Although a well‐known figure who was a pioneer in multiple scholarly disciplines, his works have been dogged by sloppy transcription, bowdlerization, editorial interference and plain incomprehension through a series of largely unsatisfactory editions. In particular, his biographical masterpiece, the Brief Lives, has never been published in a form even roughly approximating to the surviving manuscript and has until recently been known chiefly through popular and quite misleading twentieth‐century recensions. Kate Bennett's edition is a welcome and dramatic change in this history. Edited with impeccable fidelity to the text, it joins a fine edition to an essential, monograph‐length introduction setting the Brief Lives in context, and over a thousand pages of erudite commentary which alone would ensure the work's lasting importance in the study of Aubrey and his milieu.

Keywords
History

Notes
Output Type: Book Review

Journal
History: Volume 101, Issue 344

StatusPublished
FundersUniversity of St Andrews
Publication date31/01/2016
Publication date online28/02/2016
Date accepted by journal29/05/2015
PublisherWiley
ISSN0018-2648
eISSN1468-229X
Item discussedJohn Aubrey: Brief Lives with an Apparatus for the Lives of our English Mathematical Writers. Edited by Kate Bennett. 2 vols. Oxford University Press. 2015. clvii + 1,776pp