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HOBBES, Thomas (1588--1679)
Leviathan, or the matter, forme, & power of a common-wealth ecclesiasticall and civill. By Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury.
London: printed for Andrew Ckooke [sic], 1651.
[6], 248, 247--256, 261--394 [i.e. 396] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [1] fold. table ; 28.3 cm (2º)

The so-called 'Bear' edition of Leviathan, the second of three editions dated 1651, distinguished by the triangular ornament with bear grasping two sprays of foliage on the title-page; the first was the 'Head' edition with a head with scrolls and tassels on the title-page, and the third 1651 edition is the 'Ornaments' edition with five rows of decorations. The 'Bear' and 'Ornaments' editions were long considered to be continental piracies but this has been disproved; see the critical edition of Leviathan by G.A.J. Rogers and Karl Schumann (Bristol: Thoemmes, 2003), vol. 1, pp. 145-6. Hobbes's most famous work is a treatise on psychology, politics and religion and one of the first formulations of the social contract, written during the English Civil War when Hobbes had fled to Paris to avoid possible persecution for suspected royalist sympathies. The work became notorious for his defence of absolute political authority and insistence on the subordination of church to state. The additional engraved title-page, almost as famous as the book itself, is sometimes attributed to the Parisian engraver Abraham Bosse. (See M. Corbett & R. Lightbown, The comely frontispiece: the emblematic title-page in England, 1550--1660, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979). Pages 219, 335, 338, 395 and 396 are misnumbered 126, 337, 336, 397 and 394 respectively; text is continuous despite mispagination. The folding letterpress table is placed after p. 2. ESTC r13936; Wing H2247; H. Macdonald & M. Hargreaves, Thomas Hobbes: a bibliography (London : Bibliographical Society, 1952), 43.

Copy Notes Bought from Thomas Boone for 3s., 9 June 1804. (Priv. Corr. XVI.E.1.4). With Boone's pencilled price and codes on the first front free-endpaper. Inscription in ink on the verso of the engraved title-page M. Sandys E Nov: Coll: Oxon / Ex dono Tho. Mompesson / Ejusdem Coll: / April 22d 1697. Thomas Mompesson matriculated at New College, Oxford in 1682 aged 18, and was a fellow from 1684 until his death in 1713; Martin Sandys matriculated in 1689 aged 18, was a fellow from 1691 until his marriage in 1705, and died in 1753 aged 80. (New College Archives: Sewell, Registrum Sociorum 1386-1858, fol. 200, 223). Another inscription in ink on the front pastedown has been rubbed out, with only the name Richard still legible; traces of an earlier bookplate under Soane's spade-shield bookplate.

Binding C17th mottled calf, blind-tooled panels within blind double-ruled borders, gilt-tooled spine compartments, red morocco spine-label.

Reference Number 883


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