Available Volumes

Complete Works, Selected Letters and Posthumous Writings

Published in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt by frommann-holzboog

The following overview shows the available volumes in chronological order; for further details see the publisher’s online catalogue.

Almost all volumes (one exception: II 3) contain photographic reproductions of the emblematic engravings commissioned by Shaftesbury for the second edition of his Characteristicks; some of our texts are also accompanied by plates showing the original manuscript or an editio princeps.

 I 1 (1981)

Eds Wolfram Benda & Gerd Hemmerich.

26-301: Soliloquy: Or, Advice to an Author.

302-75: A Letter concerning Enthusiasm.

376-443: The Adept Ladys or The Angelick Sect; Epigrams.

In each case a critical edition with parallel (and new) German translation.

The text of the first two treatises is based on the versions found in the 1711 Characteristicks; all variants from the editio princeps (Sol. 1710; Letter 1708) and from the second edition of Characteristicks (1714-15) are recorded in a critical apparatus.

Published here for the first time in full (and together with the Epigrams attached to the original text), The Adept Ladys, an early, whimsical “Letter” describing “certain Adventures Spiritual, Philosophical, Political, and Gallant”, was edited from the two manuscripts found among the Shaftesbury Papers.

Reviews: A.O. Aldridge in Arcadia, 18 (1983), 324-8; F. Azouvi in Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, 4 (1984), 554; J. Chouillet in Dix-Huitième Siècle, 14 (1982), 451; J.A. Dussinger in Comparative Literature Studies, 19 (1982), 472-5; S. Schelz in Deutsches Allgemeines Sonntagsblatt, 48 (29 November 1981), 24; R. Geißler in Deutsche Literaturzeitung, 104 (1983), 391-3; J.B. Schneewind in Dialogue. Canadian Philosophical Review, 22 (1983), 366; A. Guzzo in Filosofia, 33 (1982), 113; S.-A. Jorgensen in Anglia, 105 (1987), 221-7; U.P. Jauch in Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 276 (27 November 1981); G. Miller-Kipp in Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger, 36 (1983), 114-16; Nürnberger Nachrichten, 28 May 1982; E. Vollrath in Philosophisches Jahrbuch, 90 (1983), 412-14; R.B. Wolf in Modern Philology, 81 (1984), 311-16.


II 2 (1984)

Eds Wolfram Benda, Gerd Hemmerich & Ulrich Schödlbauer.

24-315: An Inquiry concerning Virtue, or Merit and An Inquiry Concerning Virtue, In Two Discourses.

The fourth treatise from the Characteristicks (a critical text based on the 1711 edition and recording all variants from the 1714-15 version) side by side with its famously “imperfect” predecessor, the 1699 Inquiry (both English only).

Reviews: F. Azouvi in Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, 92 (1987), 110; R. Geißler in Deutsche Literaturzeitung, 107 (1986), 599-601; S.-A. Jorgensen (see above, I 1).



II 1 (1987)

Eds Wolfram Benda, Gerd Hemmerich & Ulrich Schödlbauer.

16-385: The Moralists and The Sociable Enthusiast.

A critical edition of the fifth treatise from the Characteristicks (the text based on the 1711 Characteristicks, all variants from the 1709 Moralists and from the 1714-15 Characteristicks recorded) and, as parallel text, the earlier version printed privately in 1704 (?) as The Sociable Enthusiast; both English only.

Reviews: P. Carrive in Revue Philosophique de la France et de l’Étranger, 178 (1988), 335; R. Geißler in Deutsche Literaturzeitung, 110 (1989), 117-18; E. Vollrath in Philosophisches Jahrbuch, 95 (1988), 428-9.


I 2 (1989)

Eds Wolfram Benda, Gerd Hemmerich, Wolfgang Lottes & Erwin Wolff.

16-405: a critical edition and parallel (new) German translation of Miscellaneous Reflections.

Based again on Shaftesbury’s 1711 text and noting all 1714-15 variants.

Reviews: R. Geißler in Deutsche Literaturzeitung, 112 (1991), 1-2; G. Stratmann in Poetica, 23 (1991), 286-91; E. Vollrath in Philosophisches Jahrbuch, 99 (1992), 194-5.


I 3 (1992)

Eds Wolfram Benda, Wolfgang Lottes, Friedrich A. Uehlein & Erwin Wolff.

14-129: Sensus Communis: An Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour, critical edition (1711 text with all variants from the editio princeps of 1709 and the 1714-15 version) and a parallel (again new) German translation.

136-267: the Instructions (I and II) from the “Virtuoso-Coppy-Book”, addressed by Shaftesbury to his printer John Darby (I) and to his engraver Simon Gribelin (II). These detail his wishes for the second, corrected (but in the end posthumous) edition of Characteristicks; the text offered here is a critical one based on the several extant manuscripts, and is translated here for the first time into German.

269-92: a rough draft for Instructions II (original English only).

295-346: a record of the emendations and notes entered by the Earl into his copy of the 1711 Characteristicks as part of the revision which preceded the 1714-15 text.

349-409: the manuscript additions and supplements in Shaftesbury’s copy of The Sociable Enthusiast, entered by him in preparation for the text’s ‘conversion’ into the 1709 editio princeps of The Moralists.

Reviews: D. Mannings in British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 18, 215; B. Schmidt-Haberkamp in Das achtzehnte Jahrhundert, 18 (1994), 160-7.


I 4 (1993)

Eds Wolfram Benda, Wolfgang Lottes, Friedrich A. Uehlein & Erwin Wolff.

18-311: a critical edition (English with a new German translation) of the printed notes found in the 1711 and 1714-15 Characteristicks.

315-461: Shaftesbury’s Index to Characteristicks.

Reviews: B. Schmidt-Haberkamp (see above, I 4).


II 3 (1998)

Eds Wolfram Benda, Wolfgang Lottes, Friedrich A. Uehlein & Erwin Wolff.

14-39: De la Vertu & de la Créance d’une Divinité. The opening sections of the 1699 Inquiry as translated into French by Pierre Des Maizeaux. The edition is based on a manuscript kept among the Shaftesbury Papers and includes five notes (in Shaftesbury’s hand) with suggestions for emendation.

43-162: Eine Untersuchung über Tugend und Verdienst, a new German translation of the Inquiry.

163-337: Die Moralisten, a new German translation of The Moralists.


I 5 (2001)

Eds Wolfram Benda, Wolfgang Lottes, Friedrich A. Uehlein & Erwin Wolff.

The “Second Characters”, planned by Shaftesbury as companion piece to Characteristicks, remained unfinished, but the surviving collection of manuscript writings on the visual arts offers valuable insights into the Earl’s aesthetic ideas. This volume offers the first critical edition of these texts alongside his more widely known – and influential – printed treatises on art.

36-61: A Letter Concerning Design. A critical edition based on the manuscripts, with a record of variants from the editio princeps (1715).

68-151: The Judgment of Hercules. An edition (with critical apparatus) based on a collation of the extant manuscripts and the two earliest printed versions. Also included: photographic reproductions (colour) of Paolo de Matteis’ paintings The Choice of Hercules.

157-297: Plasticks, or The Original, Progress, & Power of Designatory Art. Intended as the fourth part of the “Second Characters or The Language of Forms”, Plasticks was conceived as a theoretical, systematic guide to an understanding of the fine arts, one which considered their origins, their historical development, and their “Power” to affect the spectator.

303-64: Raisonnement sur le Tableau du Jugement d’Hercule. Shaftesbury’s original text for Le Jugement d’Hercule (the edition is based on two extant manuscripts) together with the revised version published by Pierre Coste in 1712 (parallel text).

371-97: a number of letters and billets connected with Shaftesbury’s work on The Judgment of Hercules.

403-14: early draft version of Plasticks.

418-27: Projet d’une Espece de Portraiture moderne (with parallel English translation). Letters from Shaftesbury to Paolo de Matteis setting out his plans for one final commission: the portrait of a dying “Seigneur-Philosophe” dictating his thoughts on the ancients to an amanuensis.

433-9: the Earl’s Instructions to Thomas Micklethwaite and John Darby for the publication of A Letter Concerning Design and The Judgment of Hercules.

445-54: various manuscript notes on art.

461-79: The Picture of Cebes. Edited from a manuscript kept among the Shaftesbury Papers, this is an English translation of the Tabula Cebetis. The Earl’s interest in the original Greek text pervades his published and unpublished writings; this version (provenance unknown) stands here in lieu of his planned, but apparently never composed “Appendix concerning the Embleme of Cebes.”

Reviews: R. Konersmann in Süddeutsche Zeitung, 64 (16/17 March 2002), V; B. Schmidt-Haberkamp in Anglia, 121, (2003), 489-91; I. Woldt in Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, 67 (2004), 439-48.


II 4 (2006)

Eds Wolfram Benda, Christine Jackson-Holzberg, Friedrich A. Uehlein & Erwin Wolff.

44-308: Select Sermons of Dr Whichcot, with the Earl’s Preface. Our edition includes previously unpublished manuscript material that sheds considerable light on Shaftesbury’s own editorial methods.

344-431: Several Letters Written by a Noble Lord to a Young Man at the University and The Ainsworth Correspondence (parallel text). The letters written by the Earl to a young protégé (Michael Ainsworth) and first published in 1716 are presented here together with the manuscript originals (or other extant copies), other relevant correspondence and, in addition, evidence which suggests that Shaftesbury himself considered having an edited version of the letters printed. The text of the correspondence is followed by explanatory notes (432-71).

This volume represents something of a departure from our previous practice in that it includes comprehensive introductions to each section. The first shows how Shaftesbury’s family and upbringing made his ‘exposure’ to Whichcote’s sermons inevitable, and looks also at the reasons for his lasting interest in the texts. The second traces the various phases in the relationship between patron and protégé and considers textual history of the letters to Ainsworth.



II 5 (2008)

Eds Wolfram Benda, Christine Jackson-Holzberg, Friedrich A. Uehlein & Erwin Wolff.

39-287: a critical and annotated edition of the draft Chartae Socraticae.

289-320: three appendices with additional manuscript material (short translations from Xenophon’s Epistles by the Earl and by his brother; further, earlier notes on Xenophon and Plato; a list of books bought by Shaftesbury in Holland during his two periods of retreat).

The “Design of a Socratick History”, Shaftesbury’s draft for the planned Chartae Socraticae, is edited here for the first time and in full. Click here for more information.

II 6 and 7

A critical, annotated edition (with parallel German translation) of Shaftesbury’s self-examining Askemata and relevant, previously unpublished manuscript material.

IV 1

Commentaries on Inquiry, The Moralists, and on the aesthetic writings edited in SE I 5 (Plasticks, etc.).

III 1 ff.

The first volume of the Standard Edition’s correspondence series presents the extant letters from the period December 1683 to February 1700. Numbering one hundred in all, they appear here interspersed with biographical details from various other manuscript sources and are supplemented with six appendices that offer additional material designed, for example, to illuminate the future third Earl’s family background; the whole is accompanied by explanatory notes.

The picture thus created shows the young Shaftesbury emerging from a childhood that was to some extent overshadowed by the political career and fate of his grandfather, rapidly assuming responsibility for his immediate family and the management of the estate he was to inherit, as well as seeking to take the place in local and national politics his background and early personal sense of public duty demanded of him. Alongside all that, he can be seen pursuing from the mid-1680s, as often as possible, a rigorous course of intensive study—the reading, observing, reflecting, and discussing (frequently encouraged by John Locke and stimulated by his own growing awareness of the differences in their thinking) that developed gradually and consistently into the ideas he would begin to publish in the late 1690s. Many of the letters allow us to trace, moreover, Shaftesbury’s ties to Holland—his personal acquaintance, for example, with Pierre Bayle and Benjamin Furly—also his keen interest in the situation of Huguenot exiles.