Thursday, 29 April 2021

of Old Books and the Evolution of Language - Part 2

Yesterday I introduced one of two very old books I was pleased to acquire. If you missed it, you can find that post here.

Today I introduce the second book, The Afflicted Man’s Companion. It first appeared in print in 1744 and was authored by John Willison (1680-1750) of the Church of Scotland. It has been said of the author that he was a “prolific writer of practical Christian literature.”

From what I’ve been able to discover thus far, the author’s purpose in this book was to provide a bedside devotional for those sick and dying who would otherwise be unable to meet with the church to hear the pastor’s sermon.

Upon initial examination, a couple things stood out as interesting. First, it would appear that somewhere in this book’s history a former owner had tried to sew part of the cover back on. Secondly, it has a homemade brown paper book cover. I was reminded of doing similar things with my school books back in elementary school. Then the idea was not just to protect the school-owned books, but also to be able to personalize it by doodling harmlessly on the book’s cover. 

The introduction dates the book 5th June, 1741. I don’t know who James (can’t make out the last name) is. Probably he is either the author of of the introduction, or perhaps an early owner who simply chose to sign his name on that page.

This too is a fascinating little fragile book that I am also looking forward to spending some time in.

Happy reading.


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