Spooky accounts from both sides of the veil in the Scottish Highlands & Islands: Theophilus Insulanus, Treatise on the Second Sight (1818)
Spooky accounts from both sides of the veil in the Scottish Highlands & Islands: Theophilus Insulanus, Treatise on the Second Sight (1818)
Spooky accounts from both sides of the veil in the Scottish Highlands & Islands: Theophilus Insulanus, Treatise on the Second Sight (1818)
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Spooky accounts from both sides of the veil in the Scottish Highlands & Islands: Theophilus Insulanus, Treatise on the Second Sight (1818)

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Glasgow, printed for J. Wylie and Co.,1819.


 

(16mo.) pp. 1-3, vii-xxviii, 1-227. Signatures: 1+ π6, b6, c2, A -T6 +1. Preliminaries, table of contents, and main texts are complete; lacking 1819 title page; including a reproduction of the 1763, Edinburgh-version of the title page with a slightly different title "A Treatise on the Second Sight. Dreams and Apparitions: With Several Instances Sufficiently Attested;" minor foxing throughout, some very light water staining effecting margins of p. 193 and onwards; rough cut deckled edges; sound, crisp text block with reasonably clean paper; an historic reader (likely 19th c.) has numbered the accounts from 1 to 119 in ink, another historic reader (likely 20th c.) has made minor notes on the end fly leaf in pencil. A cutting from a catalogue referring to the book (incorrectly as the 1763 edition) has been pasted on the verso of the front fly leaf. Binding condition: Fair, has stains along top of brown and blue marbled paper, spine and corners in brown fabric, illegibly faded label on spine. Overall, GOOD condition. 

 

 

The identity of Theophilus Insulanus remains a mystery. Originally thought to be Reverend Donald McLeod of Hamer (or Hammir), Skye, a recent work in 2020 suggests that a William Mcleod was our "Friend of God on the Island," as his Greco-Latin pseudonym translates to.

Collected by the author in the 1700s, this series of examples of prescience in the Scottish Highlands seeks to demonstrate the principal of Hamlet's famous statement that "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

 

The accounts in this text were primarily collected by the author directly from interviewing the person who experienced the phenomenon or from second-hand accounts (in some, rare instances, historical figures), noting the source and location, making it an example of anthropological field work, similar to the work being done by the contemporary Grimm Brothers with their written records of folktales.

 

About the Edition:

Described as one of the '"two lengthiest eighteenth-century discussions of the second sight," this important treatise which influenced scholars and writers, such as Walter Scott, Samuel Johnson, William Wordsworth, appears in three historic editions. Originally published in 1763 in Edinburgh, the popularity of the text saw a revised edition published in 1819 in Glasgow. A year later, the Miscellania Scotica published a version in their third volume, also published by R. Chapman. Chapman retired two years later from the printing business.

 

"Moreover, as man is considered possesed of so many temporal enjoyments, can we can imagine his happiness terminates only in the fruition of this tranistory life , since he consists of soul and body?"

Theophilus Insulanus. A Treatise on the Second Sight, Dreams and Apparitions with Several Instances Sufficiently Attested and An Appendix of Other Equally Authentic: The Whole Illustrated with letters to and from the Author on the subject of his treatise and a short dissertation of the Mischievous Effects on Loose Principals. Glasgow: Chapman, Printer, 1819.

Includes a facsimile of the title page of the 1763 edition by Edinburgh-based printer Ruddiman, Auld, and Co.

Variant title: Treatises on the Second Sight.

Contributors: Rev. Frazer, Mr. Martin, and Mr. John Aubrey