London: 1750. First collected edition of Hobbes' works. Engraved frontisportrait, engraved title for the Leviathan, and numerous woodcut tailpieces. Joints skillfully repaired, old, faded dampstain at upper margin of first one hundred pages, not extending to text. Overall a remarkably tall, clean copy in a pleasing binding. Contemporary reddish-brown calf, with gilt fillet border on covers, spine richly tooled in compartments with gilt brown morocco label. Gilt board edges and turn-ins, marbled edges and endpapers. Folio (14 1/s x 9 1/4"; 365 x 337 mm.). xxvii, 697, [3, index] pp. Item #16000
Published a hundred years after the first edition of the Leviathan, this collection is one of the most eloquent testimonies to Hobbes' pervasive influence on British and European thinking. His radical materialism and nominalism embodied the clarity that Enlightenment thinkers were calling for. His depressing picture of a state of nature in which men's lives were "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short" became an endorsement for a strong central power, while his anticlerical views were exploited fully. Mainstream Reformation thinkers, though, felt that his attack on superstition could too easily be transferred to Christianity, and Hobbes' implicit atheism meant that a direct quote from or reference to his work could never be mae without attracting suspicion. Many of his key points were thus blended into the works of Enlightenment philosophers by means of disowning or execrating. Hobbes' assignment of the primacy of self-fulfillment over denial is still a fundamental premise in the modern Western organization of society.
Included here are a Life of Hobbes by John Campbell from the Biographia Britannia, and verses by Bathurst, Cowley, Awbrey, and John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham.