Announcement | John Toland (1670-1722) Centenaries Web Project

Announcement | John Toland (1670-1722) Centenaries Web Project

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John Toland (1670-1722)

– Irish-born rationalist philosopher and freethinker –

John Toland (1670-1722)

A new website dedicated to the life and work of the philosopher, John Toland (b. 1670), was launched last Sunday, 11 March (the anniversary of his death in 1722).

John Toland was an Irish-born rationalist philosopher and freethinker of the early Enlightenment period. He made important contributions to the various fields of philosophy – in what today would be regarded as both the natural and social sciences. “If you would know more of him, search his writings,” he wrote in a self-penned epitaph that appeared following his death.

The purpose of of this web-based project is to serve as a free, online resource and repository of knowledge pertaining to Toland, his writings, the times in which he lived and to the social movement that he, along with others, spearheaded and represented, with particular reference to the enduring legacy and effect.

There is a lot that has been said about John Toland and probably a lot more that could be said. This web-based project will serve the purpose of ensuring that nothing that should be said will go unsaid. This is also why we are making the material posted to this website freely available and open to anyone who may wish to contribute. Furthermore, we invite those who may wish to contribute to get in touch with us.

from the website of the John Toland centenaries web project

The unveiling of the website on the anniversary of Toland’s death is not coincidental. In fact, the date has been deliberately chosen, with an eye to the impending 350th anniversary of Toland’s birth, which will be observed on 30 November 2020 and the 300th anniversary of his death that follows less than two years later, in 2022.

John Toland commemoration in his birthplace of Ardagh on the Inishowen peninsula in Co. Donegal

We particularly encourage anyone who has an interest in these anniversaries to get in touch with us, to ensure that they are properly observed and accorded the respect that they are due. We will do our best (without fear or favour) to publicise events that are taking place, using networks and channels of communication within our reach.

John Toland (1670-1722) website is owned and managed by The Manuscript Publisher, an Irish-based publishing services provider who have published, or otherwise made available, several works by or relating to John Toland, including J.N. Duggan’s short biography and critical appraisal, Ireland’s Forgotten Philosopher, Scholar … and Heretic (2010).

This, however, is presented simply as a ‘by-the-way’ and not intended as an advertisement or an endorsement. Furthermore, we welcome correspondence from all authors, publishers, educationalists, historical societies, groups and individuals who might see some aspect of their own interest or remit reflected in this initiative.

People interested in this web project are invited to keep in touch. If you would know more, visit the website. You can also follow on Facebook and on Twitter.

Books by or about …

Some Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mr. John Toland by Pierre des Maizeaux

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Front cover of Some Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mr. John Toland by Pierre des Maizeaux featuring the only known image of John Toland (1670-1722)

Some Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mr. John Toland by Pierre des Maizeaux

First published in 1726 (as part of A Collection of Several Pieces of Mr. John Toland), this brief biographical account, coming from the pen of a contemporary, is all the more valuable given the sparsity of information concerning the subject matter.

Pierre des Maizeaux was a French Huguenot, living in exile in London at the time of writing. While his original purpose was to provide an overview of Toland's literary output and the various controversies that he became embroiled in, it was "by greatest accident in the world, that I fell into the company of a Gentleman, who had been intimately acquainted with Mr. Toland, and who very generously communicated to me several particulars concerning him."

Students of Toland, the early Enlightenment and philosophy in general will gain a flavour for the times in which he lived, his character, the impression that he made on those who encountered him – both friends and adversaries.

"If you would know more of him, search his writings," Toland said of himself. This account of his life and work will give the reader every incentive to do just that.

Some Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mr. John Toland by Pierre des Maizeaux
Non-fiction, historical biography, literary biography, Augustan literature
106 printed pages with illustrations (black and white), paperback
Published in Ireland, in 2020, by The Manuscript Publisher.
ISBN: 978-1-911442-31-8

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