Daniel Defoe is famed for his novels Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders, but he also wrote on a range of other subjects, including magic. This book, first published 1727, is here presented in a nineteenth-century edition from 1840. Defoe spends almost 400 pages unpicking the ways in which the arts of magicians, magi and wisemen are portrayed in Biblical and early texts, and from there goes into his own ideas about how magicians get their power, thier relationship to the Devil and demonic powers. Related subjects are touched upon: there is a complex discursus of a story of the powers of a particular Arab magician, a nod to James I and female witches, and a few dropped names (disguised) of freemasons.
Oxford: Printed by D.A. Talboys for Thomas Tegg, 73 Cheapside, London 1840. Hardback, xvii+396 pages.
System of Magic. Daniel De Foe. London: Tallboys. 1840. Volume 12 in the Series, 'The Novels and Miscellaneous Works of Daniel Defoe'. First one-volume edition. Volume XII in collected works of De Foe. Bound in half red leather over cloth boards. Worn to hinges and extremities, scuffing and shelf-wear. Front inner hinges starting. Pages edges untrimmed with gilding to top edges. A handsome copy with previous owners' bookplates to pastedown and flyleaf.