Kevin F. Kelly, bookseller ††† phone: (845) 419-5090 ††† books@kevinkellybookseller.com

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Helvetius, Claude-Adrien. De l'esprit. [with] Arrest du Conseil... [and] Lettre au Reverend Pere... Paris: Chez Durand, 1758. Quarto, 248 x 190 mm. [2]; 4; [4], xxii, 643,[1]pp. (The "Arrest" and Letter bound at front). Contemporary marbled calf, spine gilt with floral tools, red label. Front joint cracked but holding soundly by the cords, a handsome unsophisticated copy.
First edition, second issue. First edition of the last major work of the French philosopher and encyclopédiste, Helvetius, DE L'ESPRIT (On the Mind) was condemned by the Church and the Sorbonne for its uncompromising atheism, regarded as dangerously revolutionary by the Court of Louis XV, and publicly condemned by Parliament. A follower of Locke's empiricism, Helvetius's work was an important development in the history of utilitarian thought, and both Bentham and Mill were strongly influenced by Helvetius' elaboration of a theory which saw mankind as the product of his environment and his education. The first issue of the first edition is very rare: Smith locates only 15 copies. Although the second issue of the 1758 quarto is not as rare as the first, it should be noted that only one copy of the First edition has appeared at auction (in ABPC) since 1975, and that copy was the first issue; no copies of the second issue have appeared for 30 years. (#kfk520) $4,500.00

 

 

 

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Kevin F. Kelly, bookseller ††† phone: (845) 419-5090 ††† books@kevinkellybookseller.com