Day, Thomas: The History of Sandford and Merton.

Day, Thomas - The History of Sandford and Merton. Edited by Cecil Hartley. Routledge, not dated reprint, guess around 1900? Thomas Day was a follower of the teachings of Rousseau, whose "noble savage" combined nature, simplicity and virtue. Day's purpose in The history of Sandford and Merton (published 1783) was to demonstrate how the child--wilful and undisciplined by nature--should be trained to become an acceptable adult. The account of naughty Tommy Merton's gradual transformation to something resembling Harry Sandford's natural and simple virtue is interspersed with chapters of natural history (including how to kill a polar bear, and how to escape from a crocodile) moral fables, and scientific titbits which were probably more attractive to its readers than the conversations of the sanctimonious Mr. Barlow and his pupils. While Day's purpose in writing The history of Sandford and Merton was primarily didactic, the book must also have given pleasure to a great many children, with its mixture of adventure, natural history, stories and practical information on subjects such as baking, house building, the principles of the lever, etc. While Harry Sandford is very good and rather boring, Tommy Merton is naughty, snobbish, disobedient, untruthful, lazy, accident prone, and a much more interesting character altogether. No wonder that even Thomas Day gently teases his hero when at the end of the book he resolves to improve himself... (Shropshire County Council). 448pp, blue buckram, hardback. Spine blocked in gold with an intricate pattern, front board similarly blocked with a title-panel. Illustrated with a tissue-guarded colour frontispiece and monochrome engravings within the text. Spine sunned; some spotting to boards/spine (see photo); slight endpaper browning; small remnant of label on front paste-down; slight discolouration to part of pages 20/21 (leather bookmark probably); small ink-blot in top-front corner of page 60 with mirror image on page 61; the odd fox spot(s); good, solid, clean, sound copy; no wrapper.

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