The Very Scarce First English Edition of Rousseau's Landmark Treatise on the Social Compact

    Jean Jacques Rousseau. A Treatise on the Social Compact; or The Principles of Politic Law. London: Printed for T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, 1764. First edition in English. Approximately 6.75 x 4 inches. Twelvemo. [xii], 249, [3, publisher's catalogue] pages. Contemporary full brown calf, spine ruled and tooled in gilt in compartments, black gilt morocco lettering label, five raised bands. Both boards rehinged, some wear to boards and spine, a tear in the text of page 79 with a marginal paper tape repair (which does not address the tear in the text). Bookplate. Overall, a very good copy of this very scarce title. Only two other copies have been at auction in the last sixty years.

    "The Contrat Social remains Rousseau's greatest work... Rousseau believed passionately in what he wrote, and when in 1789 a similar emotion was released on a national scale, the Contrat Social came into its own as the bible of the revolutionaries in building their ideal state. Still in print, translated into every language in cheap editions and paperbacks, it remains a crucial document of egalitarian government" (Printing and the Mind of Man, 270, discussing the 1762 first edition).

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2012
    8th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
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