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Rudi Thoemmes Rare Books

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Dissertations Moral and Critical. On Memory and Imagination. On Dreaming. The Theory of Language. On Fable and Romance. On the Attachments of Kindred. Illustrations on Sublimity. London: for W.Strahan and T. Cadell; and W. Creech at Edinburgh, 1783.

BEATTIE, James First edition of Beattie's best prose work, notable for his 'Theory of Language' (pp. 231-502), by far the longest and most important dissertation in the volume. Five years later the same publishers reprinted it separately. 'A constant concern in Beattie s philosophy is the fitness of language as the expression of human thought. "The Theory of Language" (1783) falls into two parts. Part one deals with the origins and the nature of human speech considered as man s privilege and a gift of God. Following in Locke s footsteps, Beattie explains that language is a system of artificial signs determined by conventions (phonetic, semantic and alphabetic). The Epicurean theory of the origins of language is refuted in favour of the traditional Christian approach. Part two of the treatise is devoted to the principles of universal grammar. Beattie distinguishes two categories of words, nouns and attributives, to which two other subclasses are added: interjections; and connectives and articles. Beattie s classification of words is borrowed from James Harris's Hermes (1751). To a large extent, The Theory of Language also echoes the preoccupations of the Grammaire générale et raisonnée of Port-Royal in the seventeenth century. In either case, grammar is studied from a twofold point of view: first the linguistic sign is presented as a system of phonetic sounds translated into the visible signs of the alphabet. The second aspect is that of signification' (Dictionary of Eighteenth-Century British Philosophers, Thoemmes Press, 1999). Chuo III, 28. PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 4to, half title, vii, viii, 655 pp., contemporary gilt-panelled tree calf, rubbed and with a couple of small blemishes, rebacked preserving the original red label, corners repaired, engraved armorial bookplate, marbled endpapers, no stamps or inscriptions, scattered light foxing, a very nice copy.
  • $1,748
  • $1,748
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The Subjection of Women. London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1869.

First edition. 'Mill's liberal feminism may be rather tame by contemporary standards, but it still has many adherents and it was very radical in the Victorian context. At the time Mill was writing women had little realistic choice in life except to marry, and once married they had little opportunity to be anything more than homemakers; legally, they were virtually property owned by their husbands. In addition, women were entirely excluded from the political sphere (except, of course, for the Queen). Mill sought to end the subjection of women by changing the laws and, indirectly, the attitudes, that govern relations between the sexes. He called for the recognition of women's rights in his writings, particularly The Subjection of Women, and also became more directly involved in the campaign for them; in 1867 he proposed an amendment to the Second Reform Bill that would have given women the vote on the same terms as men. In 'The Subjection' Mill argued that the power which the men of his day enjoyed over women was not only a direct source of unhappiness to the latter but that in addition it had a perverting effect on the characters of both' (Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Philosophers, Thoemmes Press, 2002). PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 8vo, with the half-title, [iv], 188 pp., contemporary half calf, spine decorated gilt with red morocco label, marbled edges and endpapers, modern bookplate, extremities a little rubbed, no stamps or inscriptions, final leaf and endpaper lightly spotted, a fine copy.
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Tractaet van de afgoderye en superstitie. Amsterdam, Gabriel Hendricksz, 1670 [bound with] Apologie voor het Tractaet van de afgoderye en superstitie. Utrecht: Dirck van Ackersdyck, 1669 [and] Tweede apologie voor het Tractaet van de afgoderye en superstitie. ibid, idem, 1671 [and] Derde apologie, voor het Tractaet van de afgoderye en superstitie. ibid, idem, 1669 [and] Vierde apologie voor het Tractaet van de afgoderye en superstitie. Dienende tot een antwoort op het Extract uyt de acten des E: Kerkenraats van den 31e January 1670. Noch een recueil, ofte kort verhaal van de argumenten en redenen, wedersijds . by gebracht. ibid, idem, 1670.

An excellent sammelband of related works. Velthuysen's work on idolatry and superstition, together with his subsequent defences of the work in reaction to the protests of the Protestant Consistory to Utrecht magistrates. Velthuysen (1622-1685) was a Dutch theologian, philosopher, physician and administrator, who was a correspondent and friend of Spinoza. The pair defended Descartes against the Calvinist theologian Voetius. 'During the 1650s and 60s, Lambert van Velthuysen (1622 85) was regarded by his contemporaries as a radical author, ready to embrace the two major new philosophies, namely those of Descartes and Hobbes, and in the view of Voetians What made him a particularly dangerous representative of the novatores was his willingness to present these novelties not only in Latin, but also in Dutch. The fact is, however, that by the end of the 1660s Van Velthuysen, instead of representing the most radical wing of Dutch Cartesianism, decided to attack both Lodewijk Meyer and Spinoza, since he felt these authors were indeed subversive in the way in which they turned Cartesianism into an essentially atheist and materialist philosophy that threatened to undermine the very basis of Christian society. But after having accused Spinoza, in a brief but exciting exchange of letters that took place in 1671, of teaching sheer atheism , the two seem to have become quite friendly' (Dictionary of Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Dutch Philosophers, Thoemmes Press, 2003). PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 4to, [ii], 140, 42, 32, 32, 32 pp., contemporary blind-stamped vellum with minor stains, first title-page with the cancelled stamp of the American Antiquarian Society, the first and last texts uniformly browned, generally good or very good copies, all rare, some extremely so.
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An Essay on Genius. London: printed for W. Strahan; T. Cadell; and W. Creech, Edinburgh, 1774.

First edition. Alexander Gerard (1728-95) was educated at Marischal College, Aberdeen, and became the first professor of moral philosophy and logic there in 1753. 'The success of An Essay on Taste may have been instrumental in leading Gerard to explore another of the eighteenth century's seminal abstract nouns, genius . In 1774, he published An Essay on Genius, a work that is in many ways more important and philosophically innovative than the book on taste by which he is best known. For Gerard, genius is "the leading faculty of the mind, the grand instrument of all investigation"; it is the mind's capacity for invention that makes genius the mind's pre-eminent quality. (Homer is, not surprisingly, cited as the perfect model of genius.) Genius derives from imagination, but the two are not identical: "Genius implies regularity, as well as comprehensiveness of imagination. Regularity arises in a great measure from such a turn of imagination as enables the associating principles, not only to introduce proper ideas, but also to connect the design of the whole with every idea that is introduced". Gerard's introduction of the idea of regularity into his argument may seem to impose restrictions upon genius, but the discipline of organization and arrangement is necessary to bring to fruition the buds of genius' (Dictionary of Eighteenth-Century British Philosophers, Thoemmes Press, 1999). PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 8vo, vii, [i], 434, [2] pp., contemporary tree calf, spine gilt with red morocco label, slightly scuffed, a fine copy.