Rare Book Gallery
A discourse of a method for the...
[DESCARTES, Ren?/ Tr. ANON.]
Bookseller: Martayan Lan, Inc.
London: Thomas Newcombe for John Holden, 1649. Very rare first English edition and fine copy of one of the most important works of Western... More
London: Thomas Newcombe for John Holden, 1649. Very rare first English edition and fine copy of one of the most important works of Western Philosophy ever written, Descartes’ Discourse, containing for the first time in English the phrase which is not only the conceptual cornerstone of Rationalism, generally considered the beginning of modern philosophy, but is synonymous in the cultural imagination with the very field of Philosophy: “I think, therefore, I am.” This English edition was the earliest recorded in the inventory of John Locke’s library (see J. Harrison/ P. Laslett, The Library of John Locke. 2nd ed #2451), and it is generally considered that Locke’s encounter with the ‘New Philosophy’ as it was known in England in the 1660’s, led him to write the Essay, his philosophical masterpiece. “Descartes’ purpose is to find the simple indestructible proposition which gives to the universe and thought their order and system. Three points are made: the truth of thought, when thought is true to itself (thus cogito, ergo sum), the invincible elevation of its partial state in our finite consciousness to its full state of the infinite existence of God, and to the ultimate reduction of the material universe to extension and local movement. From these central propositions in logic, metaphysics and physics came the subsequent inquiries of Locke (164 eg Essay on Human Understanding), Leibniz (177, Th?ic?, and Newton (161 Principia); from them stem all modern and scientific thought.” – PMM 129 (1637). Rather typically for English books of the period, the work is known in issues regarding the title page (and only the title page). These have not been well defined, and the circumstances of the translation’s commissioning and publication are simply unknown: as of 2002, when a series of facsimiles of Descartes’ works in English and related 17th c Cartesian writings was published, the translator of the present work remained unknown (see R. Ariew & D. Garber, Descartes’ Works in Translation, vol. I, p. ix.) According to the entry in the Norman catalogue, several states of the title are known: the title of the Norman copy is ‘A Discourse of a Method for the well guiding of Reason’, and it contains a signature marking, A4—highly exceptional if not unique for a 17th century English book; it does not contain Descartes’ name on the title. This is such an egregious and uncommon error that it is most likely the sign of the earliest state. Another title gives a different spelling ‘for Wel-‘ and Discovrse’; and yet another, like the Norman copy, omits Descartes’ name. OCLC lists 5 copies in American libraries: UCLA, Newberry, Northwestern, Harvard and Wisconsin. Wing adds Folger. In British libraries, Wing lists Oxford, Cambridge (King’s), Patent Office (London), National Library of Scotland. Through additional searching, we have also located two copies at the BL (one with the variant title), and one at Yale (Cushing Medical Library). Remarkably, the book is sufficiently rare that it is not included in the excellent Descartes bibliography of Guillebert; it was NOT included in the Biblioth?e Nationale’s anniversary exhibition celebrating the 300th anniversary of the publication of the Discours in 1937, and to this day there remains no copy of the present translation in the Biblioth?e Nationale. Finally, it is missing from (at least) two major collections of 17th century English printed books of this level of importance: the Morgan Library and the Huntington. * Wing D1129; Norman 624 (variant imprint); J. Harrison/ P. Laslett, The Library of John Locke. 2nd ed #2451 not in Guillebert; Julien Cain/ Biblioth?e Nationale. Descartes. Exposition organis?pour le III i? Centenaire du Discours de la M?ode. (Paris 1937).. 8vo., 4.5 X 9 cm], (7) ff., of which the first two are blank and integral, 127 pp. (verso blank). Bound in contemporary calf ruled in blind, gilt spine and edges of covers faded and rubbed. Binding a bit shaken, and joints a bit fragile. Minor toning in margin, but a remarkably fresh copy in its original binding, housed in modern bookbox. Less
Price: 90000.00 USD
TO THE HONOURABLE THOMAS PENN AND...
Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana
Philadelphia. 1759.. Engraved map on six sheets, joined as three. Sheet size: 3 sheets, each approximately 31 x 21 1/2 inches. Excellent condition,... More
Philadelphia. 1759.. Engraved map on six sheets, joined as three. Sheet size: 3 sheets, each approximately 31 x 21 1/2 inches. Excellent condition, with three short repaired tears, very minor age toning at the sheet edges, overall in remarkable unsophisticated condition. Provenance: Laird U. Park (Sotheby's New York, Nov. 29, 2000, lot 322). The first map of Pennsylvania to be published in America. Scull (1687-1761) was born in Philadelphia and is thought to have been apprenticed at a young age to William Penn's surveyor, Thomas Holme. In 1719 he became deputy surveyor of Philadelphia County, eventually ascending to the surveyor generalship of Pennsylvania in 1748. An original member of Benjamin Franklins Junto, Scull was intimately involved with Indian relations of the period, having travelled amongst the tribes surveying the western counties. Siding with the Proprietors in his recollection of the Walking Purchase, at which he was present, no doubt held him in good standing with the Penn family. It is thought that this, in part, led to the publication of this impressive map. Dedicated to the Proprietors, it is among the largest and finest maps produced in America to that date. The map depicts Philadelphia, Bucks, Northampton, Berks, Chester, Lancaster, Cumberland, and York Counties, and is based on Sculls own surveys as well as the reports of Major Joseph Shippen, Colonel John Armstrong, John Watson, Benjamin Lightfoot, and others. In addition, some information was gleaned from printed sources, including Fry-Jefferson's important map, evidenced by a printed footnote on the map concerning the location of Fort Cumberland and the Maryland- Pennsylvania border. Elevation is accurately depicted, much in the style of Fry-Jefferson, by neat hachure marks. The eastern counties include a wealth of detail, such as churches, meeting houses, inns, iron forges, mills, and the manors of significant residents; roads, Indian paths, Indian towns, and forts are clearly shown throughout. Although generally quite accurate, it is curious that Scull included Fort Granville on his map, which had been destroyed by the French and Delaware Indians in 1756. Nevertheless, the importance and accuracy of this large-scale map is underscored by the fact that a copy of it was among the maps hung by the Board of War at Philadelphia in August 1776, twenty years after the map's publication (as listed by John Adams in his letter to his wife dated Aug. 13, 1776). The map was engraved by James Turner (d. 1759), a Philadelphia silversmith and prot? of Benjamin Franklin. Turner had previously worked on map engraving during the production of James Parker's 1747 maps of New Jersey, a project for which he had been recommended by Franklin. Little is known about the printer, John Davis. Although he had no shop, he appears to have specialized in large copperplate engravings of maps, as he is the printer identified in the imprint of the 1756 Philadelphia first edition of Joshua Fisher's important chart of Delaware Bay. That map and the present one are his only known works. Scull's 1759 map of Pennsylvania is very rare, with less than a dozen known institutional copies. Only a few have appeared at auction in the last half century, most notably in the sales of the collections of Thomas W. Streeter, Howard E. Welsh, and Laird U. Park (this copy). EBERSTADT 167:430 (quoting Wroth). EVANS 8489. Garrison, "Cartography of Pennsylvania before 1800" in PMHB, Vol. 59, no. 3. PHILLIPS, p.673. RISTOW, pp.52-53. STREETER SALE 965. WHEAT & BRUN 422. Less
Price: 185000.00 USD
[Opera, in Greek, edited by Demetrius...
Bookseller: Peter Harrington
Florence: Demetrius Damilas [in the shop of the Printer of Vergilius (C 6061)] for Bernardo and Nero De' Nerli and Giovanni Acciaiuoli, 9 December... More
Florence: Demetrius Damilas [in the shop of the Printer of Vergilius (C 6061)] for Bernardo and Nero De' Nerli and Giovanni Acciaiuoli, 9 December 1488 [not before 13 January , 1488/89]. 2 volumes, Median folio (332 ?238 mm). Lately rebound to style using 18th-century brown morocco, spine decorated in blind with urn and lyre devices etc in compartments between five raised bands, sides panelled in blind with matching tools and floral devices within a latticework central panel, based on a Florentine binding executed in 1504 (illustrated in Tammaro de Marinis, La Legatura Artistica, Florence 1960). 439 leaves (of 440, lacking final blank), 39 lines, Greek letter, 2- and 10-line initial spaces. Ex-libris University of Lyon, with stamp Acad. Lugd. and release stamp dated 1843 on the first leaf; later in the libraries of Constantine Radoulesco and H. Bradley Martin (Sotheby's New York, 14 June 1990, lot 3355). Unrubricated, occasional marginalia in an attractive contemporary cursive hand; a good clean copy. Editio princeps of the writings attributed to Homer, including the Iliad and the Odyssey, two of the earliest, most important and influential works of European literature. "The Iliad and the Odyssey are the first perfect poetry of the western world. They spring fully grown, their predecessors lost, and the magic has persisted ever since. The legends of the siege of Troy and the return of Odysseus are the common heritage of all … The form, the action and the words have had incalculable influence on the form, action and words of poetry ever since; the composition of the Aeneid, the Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost, and many others, has been determined by the Iliad and the Odyssey. Their popularity never diminishes" (PMM). The editor Demetrius Chalcondylas was professor of Greek at the Florentine Studio from 1475 until 1491. The type is that of Demetrius Damilas, a scribe who had previously been active in the printing of Greek books in Milan since 1476. It was based on the handwriting of Michael Apostolis, which was simpler and more distinct than Damilas's own elegant but elaborate hand. This monumental printing is the first large-scale printing in Greek, and also probably the first Greek book printed in Florence. (The rare Erotemata by Emanuel Chrysoloras, which survives in only two copies, was printed in Florence either in 1475 or c. 1488-94.) The text of Homer was not printed again in Greek until Aldus's octavo edition of 1504, which was based directly on Chalcondylas's text. The Batrachomyomachia ("Battle of the Frogs and Mice"), a pseudo-Homeric text, which is also included here with the Iliad, Odyssey and Homeric Hymns, had been earlier printed in an unsigned Greek-Latin edition printed perhaps at Brescia or Ferrara, which is known only from the unique copy in the John Rylands University Library, Manchester. Despite the lengthy and circumstantial colophon, bibliographers have had trouble in agreeing on the correct imprint and date. Robert Proctor (The Printing of Greek in the Fifteenth Century, 1900, p. 66 sqq.) argued that the edition was actually printed in the shop of Bartolommeo di Libri, whose type was used to print the dedication to Piero de' Medici on the first page. BMC assigned the edition rather to the Nerli brothers, but Roberto Ridolfi (La stampa a Firenze nel secolo XV, 1958, p. 95 sqq.) has pointed out that the Nerli were well-born and wealthy Florentines whose role would have been a purely financial one. He has instead assigned the Homer to the anonymous Florentine shop, the Printer of Virgil (Copinger 6061, Goff V183), which flourished from 1488 to 1490 or so. Ridolfi supposes that only the first, dedication page was printed in di Libri's shop, more than a month after the completion of the edition proper, this page hitherto having been planned as a blank. Less
Price: 282975.00 USD