Liberal Education: or, a Practical Treatise on the Methods of Acquiring Useful and Polite Learning. The third edition.

  • Knox, Vicesimus
  • London: Printed for Charles Dilly 1781
  • ESTC N33517.


SKU: 2968 Category: Tag:


8vo, pp. xix, [i], 415, [1]. Contemporary sprinkled calf, spine divided by gilt rolls, red morocco label. Some light toning and spotting. Extremities a touch rubbed, a few light scratches to boards, spine gently creased. Early ownership inscription of J.B. Jodrell to title-page, and of Thomas Hodges to flyleaf.


The major contribution to educational theory of Vicesimus Knox the younger, a prolific author on numerous subjects while also headmaster at Tonbridge School. 'Knox's initial success at Tonbridge was principally due to the high reputation as a scholar that he had acquired at Oxford and to the popularity of his first work, Essays Moral and Literary (1778), whose authorship quickly became known. Three years later he further publicized the school by publishing Liberal Education, or, A Practical Treatise on the Method of Acquiring Useful and Polite Learning (1781), which effectively was both a manifesto and a prospectus. Eagerly purchased by the public, Liberal Education successfully targeted two influential audiences, for it proved indispensable as a professional handbook for fellow schoolmasters and an invaluable guide for parents who were debating how and where to educate their children. Above all, it fulfilled Knox's principal aim of providing a practical, rather than theoretical, treatise on education' (ODNB).
Despite its massive success - it reached an eleventh edition in 1795 - copies of early editions are scarce, with this third the rarest; ESTC locates just one copy in the UK (BL) and two in the USA (National Institute of Education and Illinois).

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