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    Claude Adrien Helvetius. De L'Espirit. Paris: Claude-Jacques-Charles Durand de Sugeres, 1758. Krown & Spellman retail: $1000. First 12mo. Edition. 3 parts in 1 vol. A-Q12;A-X8;A-L12,M6. 379,[5 blank]; 338; 254 [24]p. Contemp. 1/2 calf over paste-paper boards spine banded and gilt, title lettering piece, covers rubbed, top of spine slightly chipped, else fine. Scarce first 12mo edition, published in the same year as the first suppressed 4to edition. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.

    More Information:

    The publication in 1758 of his principal work, De l'Esprit, proved to be one of the ideological causes celebres of the eighteenth century.... De l'esprit was noisily condemned by the authorities, both ecclesiastical and ministerial, for its dangerously heretical and subversive opinions. (Encyclopedia of Philosophy III, p.472).

    De l'esprit, intended to be the rival of Montesquieu's De l'esprit des lois appeared in 1758... It attracted immediate attention...The Sorbonne condemned the book, the priests persuaded the court that it was full of the most dangerous doctrines, and the author, terrified at the storm he had raised, wrote three separate retractions...The virulence of the attacks upon the work, as much as its intrinsic merit, caused it to be widely read; it was translated into almost all the languages of Europe...His philosophy belongs to the utilitarian school... he had great influence upon Bentham, and C. Beccaria states that he himself was largely inspired by Helvetius in his attempt to modify penal laws. The keynote of his thought was that public ethics has a utilitarian basis, and he insisted strongly on the importance of culture in national development''. (Ency. Brittannica, 11th ed.).

    And we include the first vol. (of 2) of Helvetius' De l'homme, de ses facultés intellectuelles et de son éducation (Amst., 1774, contemp. calf w. gilt spine and 2 contrasting mor. letterpieces. Binding sl. worn).

    Smith E.3. Tchemerzine VI, 189. OCLC 221478307

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2014
    31st Wednesday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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