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HELVÉTIUS, Claude Adrien (1715--1771)
De l'esprit. Tome I (--III).
A Paris chez Durand, libraire. Et se vend A Francfort, chez Jean George Eslinger, 1768.
3 vols ; 16.1 cm. (8º)
I: 381, [1] p.
II: 340 p.
III: 252, [28] p.

Anonymous. By Claude Adrien Helvétius, formerly one of the Fermiers-generaux; following his retirement in 1751 he devoted himself to philosophy. First published 1758, this work attracted immediate attention and the condemnation of the Sorbonne for its insistence that human action was motivated by self-interest, that religion was not necessary for morality, and that differences in intellect could be explained by education. Its influence was second only to Rousseau's Emile and it had a great influence on the utilitarian thinkers of the 19th century.

Copy Notes Purchased for 6s. on 27 May 1784. (Account Book, 1781--6). Inscribed in ink on front free-endpaper of vol. I and again on title-page of vol. II John Soane. Cypher in ink on front pastedown of vol. I. Some pencil marginalia by Soane, chiefly vocabulary notes including on the verso of the vol. III title-page Esprit / This word cannot be / translated, it signifies / not only the mind, but / its faculties; and page references listed on the free-endpapers. Occasional earlier marginalia in ink in a French hand. Numerous marginal references in pencil apparently to page numbers, probably not by Soane.

Binding C18th calf, gilt double-ruled spines, red morocco spine-labels.

Reference Number 1022


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