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[MOORE, John, M.D.]

Various Views of Human Nature, Taken From Life and Manners, Foreign and Domestic.

pp. (iv), 482, (i) Errata, (i) blank; (iv), 529, (i) blank, (i) Errata, (i) blank. Contemporary polished calf, scuffed with a little surface wear, spines worn and lacking labels, joints firm and apart from a little spotting at the ends of v.I, contents clean.

*Not in the WELLCOME CATALOGUE, which lists his Sketches on the Continent and in Medicine. MOORE (1729-1802), born at Stirling, educated in Glasgow, at the grammar school and then the University. He was apprenticed to John Gordon, a surgeon, and having concluded his term in 1747, he was appointed surgeon's mate to the Duke of Argyll's regiment and saw much service in Belgium. When peace was made, he returned to England and thence to Paris with William Fordyce with whom he worked in the French hospitals. In 1751 he was invited to become a partner in the practice of Gordon, his old teacher, remaining in Glasgow in practice both with Gordon and then Hamilton, professor of Anatomy. He obtained his M.D. from Glasgow in 1770 but two years later gave up medical practice and embarked upon his travels on the Continent as tutor to Douglas, eighth duke of Hamilton. He published accounts of his travels in two series of epistolary commentaries in 1779 and 1781. Zeluco, his first novel, came out in 1789 [not 1786 as stated by Norman Moore in DNB] and was republished several times in England and Ireland and translated into French. Its theme of incestuous love made this novel a notorious celebrity in its day - Byron is said to have declared it one of his favorite childhood books. In the preface to Childe Harold, he says that he intended to make his hero 'perhaps a poetical Zeluco'. Moore's hero, a Sicilian nobleman, was brought up entirely without restraint by his doting mother after the death of his father. Moore warned his readers - 'Religion teaches, that Vice leads to endless misery in a future state; and experience proves, that in spite of the gayest and most prosperous appearances, inward misery accompanies her; for, even in this life, her ways are ways of wretchedness, and all her paths are woe...... Tracing the windings of Vice, however, and delineating the disgusting features of Villany, are unpleasant tasks; and some people cannot bear to contemplate such a picture. It is fair, therefore, to warn Readers of this turn of mind not to peruse the story of Zeluco.' But, as Norman Moore said, the author's warnings were disregarded. The follow-up novel, 'Edward', 1796, intended to show the more pleasant traits of human nature, he describes as '...altogether wanting in life', and the third and final fictional work, 'Mordaunt', 1800, seems to have been as dull as 'Edward'. In his day, however, John Moore attained a considerable reputation as a commentator on manners, was feted in literary society and popular in aristocratic houses. His namesake in DNB described him as '... sagacious as a physician... universally liked, and most of all in his own house.' Certainly HUNTER & MACALPINE, p.496 et seq., regarded his contributions to the literature of psychiatry [Medical Sketches, 1786] as 'refreshing' and worthy of inclusion in their anthology - 'Moore's refreshing approach to medicine sprang from his stressing the vis medicatrix naturae - which was almost forgotten in an age which demanded and received active treatment in endless variety and combinations of drugs - especially in diseases of the mind...'.

For A. Strahan, and T. Cadell, in the Strand. London.

Date Published: 1789. 2 volumes. 8vo.

Stock No. 15941

Price: 175.00