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Eighteenth-Century Studies 34.4 (2001) 642-645
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Locke and Eighteenth-Century British Philosophy: Recent Tools and Resources
Mark G. Spencer
The University of Western Ontario
Mark Goldie, ed. The Reception of Locke's Politics: From the 1690s to the 1830s, 6 vols., vol. 1, The Glorious Revolution Defended, 1690-1704. Pp. lxxxviii + 369; vol. 2, Patriarchalism, the Social Contract and Civic Virtue, 1705-1760. Pp. vi + 377; vol. 3, The Age of the American Revolution, 1760-1780. Pp. vi + 384; vol. 4,Political Reform in the Age of the French Revolution, 1780-1838. Pp. vi + 448; vol. 5, Church, Dissent and Religious Toleration,1689-1773. Pp. vi + 385; vol. 6,Wealth, Property and Commerce, 1696-1832. Pp. viii + 405 (The Pickering Masters. London: Pickering and Chatto; Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Company, 1999). $795.00 cloth
Jean S. Yolton, ed. John Locke: A Descriptive Bibliography (Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 1998). Pp. xxix + 514 + 26 unnumbered pages of reproductions. $185.00 cloth
John W. Yolton, John Valdimir Price, and John Stephens, eds. The Dictionary of Eighteenth-Century British Philosophers, 2 vols. (Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 1999). Pp. xxiii + 1013. $550.00 cloth in slipcase
The books under review prove that there is as much interest in the life, writings, and reception of John Locke now as there was in the eighteenth century. Evidence for this current interest is not difficult to come by--witness the hundreds of monographs about Locke; the published guides to Locke scholarship; the Locke Newsletter, an annual that publishes refereed articles about Locke and lists scores of other writings about Locke and his thought; web-sites that post Locke bibliography; and preparation of the Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke. Each of the reference books under review will do much to foster the existing scholarly interest in Locke. All three also have the potential to take the debate on Locke into promising new areas of study.
It is difficult to imagine a book of more use to Locke scholarship than Jean S. Yolton's John Locke: A Descriptive Bibliography. Aiming "to describe each published printing or translation of [Locke's] writings" (viii), Yolton's book is clearly the result of years of research in repositories in Britain, Europe, and North America. Yolton divides her daunting task into separate chapters covering each of Locke's seven major works, but also includes chapters for Locke's poetry, periodical publications, correspondence, and even the works of his critics. Each chapter opens with an informative, if somewhat anecdotal, discussion of the writing and printing history of the subject. The book's focus, of course, is a comprehensive chronological listing of the pre-1801 printings of Locke's works. By necessity this is a big book, and its narrow-margined pages of quasi-facsimile print are not pleasing to the eye. As a reference tool, however, Yolton's bibliography will become the standard guide. Yolton also aimed to illustrate the eighteenth-century dissemination of Locke's works. Reading Yolton's indexes of "Editors and Translators," "Illustrators and Engravers," and "Booksellers and Printers," one can not but come away with a better appreciation of the scores of eighteenth-century agents who together shaped "Locke," the iconic figure of Goldie's volumes. [End Page 642]
In The Reception of Locke's Politics Mark Goldie provides six volumes of responses to Locke's political writings. Goldie's handsome volumes are arranged thematically and chronologically. Volumes 1-4 reprint responses to Locke's Two Treatises of Government from 1690 to 1838. Volume 5 provides responses to Locke's Letter Concerning Toleration from 1689 to 1773. Volume 6 reprints responses to Locke's writings on commerce from 1696 to 1832. Each of the set's eighty-three selections is reset, providing a uniform format for its one million words. Editorial assistance is provided by a range of useful material, including one-page headnotes for each selection and explanatory footnotes. Volume 1 contains "A Note on the Selection," eight pages of suggested further readings, a chronology, and a fifty-five page "Introduction." Volume 6 concludes...