Greenfield, Mass. Printed by Ansel Phelps, And sold by him at his Book-Store—also, by S. Butler, Northampton, T. Dickman, Springfield, and Cummings & Hilliard, Boston and Cambridge, 1816. First edition. Original marbled wrappers, 5.38 x 3.38 inches, 54 pages, gathered in nines. A little crimped, worn, and soiled, with a few light ink spots to the wrappers and some short tears along the spine; the initial blank is smeared as though with ink during production; a good copy. Item #19920
An ex-library copy, with a small 19th century historical society stamp and small autograph accession number on the title page. A compact and even entertaining grammar from a mildly heterodox polymath of the Connecticut River Valley, the Deerfield (Mass.) Unitarian divine Willard (1775-1859), this little work published in the years shortly before he went blind; in the memoir edited by his daughter and published in 1892, Willard notes, “English grammar, too, engaged my early attention. It was, however, in the technics of English grammar, that I first dissented from general doctrines and modes of instruction. I was dissatisfied with the general attempt to form the grammar of the English language on the model of the Latin or Greek, which in some respects are essentially different. . . . The whole was contained in about sixty pages, octodecimo; and the greatest peculiarity of the work, perhaps, was a thorough analysis of phrases, as well as other parts of sentences. *More beautiful,* for instance, was not parsed as one word, under the name of an adjective, but as an adverb qualifying the adjective, and an adjective qualifying some noun. So, in those phrases, which correspond to different tenses in Latin or Greek, I conceive that every individual word has a radical significance, which it carries with it into every combination, and which requires particular attention in order to a full understanding of our language.” See Life of Samuel Willard, of Deerfield, Mass. Edited by his Daughter (Boston, 1892). American Imprints 39824.