11 - 13 July 2000
LOCKE, John (1632-1704). An Essay concerning Human Understanding. In four books. London: [Elizabeth Holt] for Thomas Basset, and sold by Edw[ard] Mory, 1690.
2° in 4's (326 x 91mm). Title within double-ruled border. With an engraving of Locke's monument bound in as frontispiece, and an engraved portrait of Locke by G. Vertue after Sir Godfrey Kneller loosely inserted. (Title lightly browned, with lower outer corner torn away and slight tear to edge of outer margin, A2r soiled at lower outer corner, rust holes in P3, 2H3, 201, and 2R3 affecting a few letters, occasional soil marks, slight browning and spotting to edges.) Blue straight-grained morocco gilt by Rivière & Son, covers with single gilt fillet, spine in six compartments with raised bands ruled in gilt, two compartments directly lettered and dated, marbled endpapers, gilt edges (small tear in one spine compartment, extremities lightly rubbed).
FIRST EDITION, second issue with cancel title, of the work forming the basis of 18th-century empirical philosophy. Although begun as early as 1671, it was finally brought to order during the years that Locke spent as an exile in Holland (January 1684-February 1688), in the company of a distinguished literary circle. In Book I he rejected the doctrine of 'innate idea', maintaining that all knowledge was based on experience. Few philosophical works received such immediate and lasting recognition, leading John Stuart Mill to describe Locke as 'the unquestioneed founder of the analytic philosophy of mind.' Pforzheimer 600; PMM 164; Wing L-2739.
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