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    Sale 7548

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    12 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 126

    HOBBES, Thomas (1588-1679). Leviathan, or the Matter, Forme, and Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill. London: Andrew Crooke, 1651.

    Price Realised  

    HOBBES, Thomas (1588-1679). Leviathan, or the Matter, Forme, and Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill. London: Andrew Crooke, 1651.

    2° (286 x 190mm). Engraved frontispiece, folding letterpress table. (Frontispiece trimmed down and mounted, title and preliminaries soiled and slightly torn at inner corners, B4 and Ii4 with hole slightly affecting catch-word and chapter heading on respective versos, I2-3 short at margins and supplied from another copy, Bb3-4 rehinged, Ccc1 with small burn hole, faint marginal worming to Yy4-Aaa1, occasional spotting, verso of final leaf soiled.) Late 18th/early 19th-century grey boards backed in red roan with contrasting lettering-piece (restoration to spine, covers rubbed and scuffed).

    FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE with head ornament on title. Born in the year when the threat of the Spanish Armada produced national panic, Hobbes came to articulate his own fears of social and political chaos in Leviathan, mainly as a response to the civil war. Paradoxically, his carefully-reasoned theories, involving the surrender of the individual will, aroused suspicion and terror in others. From the book's first publication until his death he was surrounded by controversy and colloquially dubbed the "Monster of Malmesbury". In 1666 his works were publicly burned at Oxford. From a modern perspective, however, it is clear that Leviathan provided a crucial interpretation of civil strife as the product of human passions and a disastrous loss of reason. Macdonald & Hargreaves 42; PMM 138; Wing H-2246.


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