Talk:Novum Organum

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Some information on English translations, culled from AbeBooks, WorldCat, and prefaces to various editions.[edit]

The Montagu Editions. William Wood, translator. 1831[edit]

There were two Montagu editions, a 16-volume one and a 3-volume one. The 16-volume one, published by Pickering and printed by White in London, was called "A New Edition". The first three volumes came out in 1825. Volume 14, which contained the Wood translation of Novum Organum was published in 1831. The last of the volumes was published in 1834. This edition appears not to have ever been reprinted (though I found mention of the Montagu edition coming to the US in 1837; was this the 16- or 3-volume edition?)

The 3-volume was printed and reprinted in Philadelphia (by Godey, then Carey & Hart, then Hart) nearly every year from 1841 through 1859, then again in (at least) 1876 (M. Murphy), 1884 (Carey & Hart), 1887 (Murphy) and 1889 (Murphy). It was printed in New York by Worthington in 1884. The 1852, 1857 and 1859 all appear to have used the same plates (except for the title page). The ink breaks the same on pages I checked. I presume all the Philadelphia sets used the same plates.

There was also a 3-volume set printed by Pickering in London, 1850-52. I have not seen it, so do not know if it used the same typesetting as the Philadelphia printings.

I have not seen the 16-volume, edition, but presume the texts in the 3-volume Philadelphia editions were taken from the 16-volume without change. Kitchin reports that till his time (1855), there were only two complete translations of NO, Shaw's of 1733, and Wood's used in the Pickering editions.

Kitchin begins his preface thus:

There are only two complete Translations of the Novum Organon already in existence: the first, that given by Dr. Shaw in his Edition of Bacon's Philosophical Works (3 vols. 4to. London, 1733); the other is to be found in Montagu's Edition of Bacon's Works (London, 1831), and was made by Mr. W. Wood.
Dr. Shaw's Edition is extremely rare; Mr. Wood's Translation has been reprinted by Pickering, and is in common use; it also forms, with some corrections, the basis of a Translation published by Bohn. I cannot look on this as anything but a misfortune. Mr. Wood's English is coherent, and reads well; and so long as we read it without referring to the Latin, we believe that, though very obscure, still it must be correct. But the least comparison of the Latin discloses a most extraordinary collection of misapprehensions and mistakes. The worst of these are corrected in Bohn's Edition, but there are radical faults in Mr. Wood's work which lead me to think that it cannot be made the basis of a satisfactory translation.

Which leads me back to the Bohn edition.

The Devey editions.[edit]

For the edition first published in the Bohn series, the editor took the Wood translation, made unspecified corrections, added notes, and retranslated the introductory material.

--Mccaskey 16:44, 12 March 2008 (UTC)