An Atheistic Surprise

Posted on May 1, 2015 | in CRC, Library & University Collections | by

2015-05-01 08.52.11sWe keep finding things we didn’t know we had!  Special Collections has been playing host to experts from the London firm of specialist booksellers, Bernard Quaritch.  During their investigations they unearthed this little pamphlet which turns out to be an uncatalogued and unrecorded copy of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley’s first publication, “The Necessity of Atheism”, printed in 1811.  This cheeky little tract dismisses the entire history of theology and belief in 13 small pages, concluding triumphantly “Every reflecting mind must allow that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity. Q.E.D.”.  Shelley was at the time 19 and a student at University College, Oxford.  As a result of circulating this within the University (and to the Anglican Bishops!) he was expelled and the pamphlet suppressed.  There are only 2 surviving copies listed on COPAC (and another 3 in E.B. Murray’s standard edition of The Prose Works).  Our copy seems to have come from the Dugald Stewart bequest in 1910.  We will now get it catalogued, hopefully without any dangerous consequences.

Comments are closed.

Follow @EdUniLibraries on Twitter

Collections

Default utility Image Volunteering at the CRC: Charlotte’s experience Today we’re introducing Charlotte Holmes, a postgraduate student who is doing some volunteer work under...
Default utility Image Edinburgh Research Archive: March 2021 Edinburgh Research Archive: March 2021 • https://era.ed.ac.uk March saw a record number of downloads for ERA,...

Projects

Default utility Image Bearing Witness: The Pre-Digitisation Conservation Treatment of The Witness, Part 1 This week we have the first instalment of a two-part series by Projects Conservator Mhairi...
Default utility Image Glazy in Love: Rehousing the Emma Gillies Collection Today we have the first instalment of a two-part series from Collections Care Assistant, Sarah...

Archives

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.