London, South Kensington
30 November 2005
DODGSON, Charles Lutwidge ('Lewis Carroll'). The Principles of Parliamentary Representation. London: Baxter for Harrison and Sons, 1884.
8° (198 x 134mm). (Staining and spotting on half-title.) Stitched without wrappers, as issued. Provenance: Sir John Conroy, 3rd Baronet (1845-1900, inscription from the author) -- sale, Bloomsbury, 25 June 1999, lot 447.
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR: 'Sir J. Conroy, Bart. Nov.'. One of only 150 copies for private distribution; apart from this copy, it appears no other has been offered at auction since 1947. The Principles of Parliamentary Representation was a valuable contribution to the controversy raging in the British press of the day on the fairness of parliamentary representation. Dodgson's pamphlet introduced a revolutionary game-theoretic approach to these controversial voting problems, which remained largely unrecognized until the early 1950s when the economist Duncan Black stumbled on the lost work. Black, one of the most important thinkers in the formalization of modern voting theory, described Dodgson's mathematical approach to voting as 'THE MOST INTERESTING CONTRIBUTION TO POLITICAL SCIENCE THAT HAS EVER BEEN MADE.' Indeed, a straight line can be drawn from Dodgson pamphlet to Nobel Laureate Kenneth Arrow's work on the paradox of voting. The recipient of this copy graduated from Christ Church, Oxford with a first-class degree in Natural Sciences in 1868, and was elected FRS in 1891, a year after he became a fellow of Keble College, Oxford. Cf. Duncan Black 'The Central Argument in Lewis Carroll's "The Principles of Parliamentary Representation"' in Papers on Nonmarket Decision Making 3, 1967; Williams, Madan, Green and Crutch 168.
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