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Leviathan, or the Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-wealth Ecclesiastical and Civill.
London: for Andrew Crooke, at the Green Dragon in St. Paul's Church-yard,, 1651. Small folio (295 x 180 mm). Contemporary mottled calf, covers with an elaborate geometrical blindstamp decoration, rebacked, spine ruled and stamped in blind in compartments, raised bands, red morocco label. Ornament of a bear on title page, with engraved title-page and folding printed table. Ownership inscription of J. Watson of the Middle Temple dated 1752 on front free endpaper, with his stencilled ownership staamp in red aat head of title. Engraved armorial bookplate of one "N. W. M. Brunton" with the motto "Fax mentis incendium gloriae". Neatly rebacked and recornered, inner hinges strengthened. Some surface wear to covers. Small marginal hole to final three leaves, affecting one word on the final leaf. Pale damp mark to gutter of the first few leaves, and to the upper outer corner throughout. First edition, second printing of one of the foundation works in the field of political theory, with the bear ornament on the title-leaf, printed outside England (probably at Amsterdam). Leviathan details Hobbes's notion of the origin of the State as a product of human reason meeting human need, through to its destruction as a consequence of human passions. According to Hobbes, the State, as an aggregate of individual men (so well portrayed in the famous engraved title), should always be tendered the obedience of the individual, as any government, in his view, is better than the natural anarchic state. Needless to say, this view elicited a storm of controversy, putting Hobbes at odds with proponents of individual liberties. Through conflict, Leviathan has been the catalyst of much productive thought in succeeding centuries, from Spinoza to the school of Bentham, "who reinstated [Hobbes] in his position as the most original political philosopher of his time" (PMM). This book "produced a fermentation in English thought not surpassed until the advent of Darwinism" (op. cit.)
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2017-01-18           Check availability:      Biblio    

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