The Table-Talk of John Selden: With a Biographical Preface and Notes by John Selden
The lawyer, politician and antiquarian John Selden (1584-1654) made his name as an expert on the ancient laws of England, though he was equally at home with classical and Judaic studies: Grotius described him as 'the glory of the English nation', and his advice was sought on all manner of legal and moral problems from tithes to cross-dressing. This collection of his remarks on many topics was compiled by his amanuensis Richard Milward and first published in 1689. Reissued here is a version annotated and with a biographical preface by the literary scholar Samuel Weller Singer (1783-1858) and published in 1847. The topics of Selden's discourse are arranged alphabetically, from 'abbies' to 'zelots', via Christmas, juggling, marriage, and witches. As Singer says of the book, 'it is impossible to open it without finding some important fact or discussion, something practically useful and applicable to the business of life'.