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An historical essay endeavouring a probability that the language of the empire of China is the primitive language.
for Nath. Brook, London 1669 - First edition, first issue (the book was reissued in 1678 under a different title and without the map) of the first book on the Chinese language published in the West, and the first separate book on China by an Englishman. Small 8vo, p. [8], 212, [1] (errata), engraved folding map (usually lacking); title-p. printed in red and black; full contemporary sheep neatly rebacked, old spine and label neatly laid down; two or three minor worm holes and short tears to the margins, otherwise a very good, sound copy or better, with the engraved map in a fine state; with the bookplate of Royal Society founder, Hans Sloane. Notes Harbsmeier, "Webb's contribution to Sinology is so important because he summarized what could be gleaned on the Chinese language from the published Western literature, and because he was the first to make a systematic book-length attempt to define the place of Chinese among the languages of the world. His originality was limited to constructing out of these reports a case that Chinese was the original language of mankind before the building of the tower of Babel." Webb (1611-72) was an architect of note and a student of Inigo Jones, and later the executor of his will. There appears to be little biographical information about Webb, and what little there is gives no hint of his philological studies. His thesis that the Chinese language is that from which all others emanate is grounded in his biblical studies. From his Preface: [It is not] my purpose. to insist on vulgar traditions, or licentious etymologies of words . but fix my basis upon sacred truth, and credible history. Scripture teacheth, that the whole earth was of one language until the conspiracy at Babel; history informs that China was peopled, whilst the earth was so of one language." Wing W1202; Alston III, 781; Lust 1005; Cordier, Sinica, 1577; Lowendahl, 142. [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Rulon-Miller Books (ABAA / ILAB)]
Last Found On: 2013-12-03           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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