London: Ric Everingham for R. Bently, 1694. First Edition. 4to, pp. [xii], 129, blank, , 248. Bound in contemporary calf (some wear to the foredges), with later rebacking. Front blank loose, hinge tender, little foxing to the title-page, little soiling and small hole to the upper margin of B1, effecting a little of the running title, a very good copy. STC B3347; Jaggard p. 25; Wing B3347; not in CBEL. Item #15423
Blount (1649-1697) was a politician and author who acquired a high reputation for the extent and variety of his learning. He is most renowned for his Censura celebriorum Authorum, sive Tractatus in quo varia ... (1690). This was a bibliographical dictionary, a kind of record of the opinions of the greatest writers of all ages on one another. The DNB, in writing about that book notes that of great interest is not just whom Blount quotes, but whom he left out. Those who were slighted included many of the great poets of the day. The present work somewhat makes up for the slight, in that Blount first treats poetry in general and the different kinds of poetry and the relationship between the poetry of different European countries and the languages of each. The second part contains critical notices of sixty-seven poets of various ages and countries. Some of those omitted from the Censura ... are included here. This is one of the earliest critical notices of Shakespeare that had appeared in a book.