4to, pp. 40; printer’s device on title, one large and several 5-line finely engraved initials, some criblé, some historiated, some grotesque; a very good copy in modern marbled boards, the manuscript ownership inscription of Cardinal Altemps (1561-1595) on the title-page.
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Iacobi Blanchoni ucessiensis adversus Ludovicum beneventanum abbatem selestensem defensionum liber.
First edition of a very rare work of sixteenth-century Lyonnese Neoplatonism, an elegantly-printed de Tournes edition. Ostensibly a simple series of remarks against the theses of the (presumably sternly Scholastic) abbot of Selestan, this is a tract of Renaissance moral philosophy. The theme of dignitas hominis concentrated the philosophical efforts of several Lyonnese men of letters inspired by Ficino and Pico della Mirandola. Like Charles de Bovelles and P. Boaistuau, Jacques Blanchon systematically harmonizes Aristotle’s philosophy and science with the hermetic thought associated with the writings of Hermes Trismegistus.
Anticipating Charron and Montaigne, Blanchon does not accept demonology and witchcraft, exposing the foolishness of popular beliefs largely on grounds of common sense rather than strict Scholastic rationalism. Further chapters address ideas and knowledge, nature, the soul, the impact of need on morality, human freedom from predestinations and from the stars, and some false etymologies. Blanchon was also the author of a tract ‘De summo hominis bono’ published in the same year.
Adams B2099. Rare: two locations in the UK (Cambridge and St. Andrews), one in the US (Newberry), one in France (BNF) and two in Switzerland (Basel and Bern).
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RECOMMENDED BY JOHNSON THICKNESSE, Philip.
A year’s journey through France, and part of Spain . . . The second edition with additions.
Second, expanded edition, a subscriber’s copy; first published the previous year. ‘Disappointed in the expectation of falling heir to some property . . . [and] “driven out of his own country with eight children in his train,” [Thicknesse] removed himself to Spain, where he thought he could live more cheaply than in England. This trip employed him until November, 1776, and produced the above book’ (Cox). Although largely devoted to France, part of Thicknesse’s idiosyncratic work describes his travels in Spain, which took him from La Junquera to Montserrat via Gerona and Barcelona. ‘The travellers excited much attention . . . since their pet monkey, Jacko, insisted on riding postilion, dressed in a red jacket and boots. The family were made especially welcome by the monks at the hermitages and convent of Montserrat, where they also enjoyed the botanical richness of the landscape’ (Oxford DNB). Boswell records that Samuel Johnson recommended the book to him on 3 April 1778.
[HILLER, Johann Adam, editor].
Anecdoten zur Lebensgeschichte berühmter französischer, deutscher, italienischer, holländischer und anderer Gelehrten, erster [-zweyter] Theil.
Scarce first edition of Hiller’s two-volume collection of literary, philosophical and historical anecdotes. The editor’s note at the end mentions the contemporary publication of a French work of similar inspiration, and states the editor’s intention to translate it and publish it as a sequel to his original collection. Thus, the sequel came out in the following two years as volumes III and IV, but with the different title Merkwürdigkeiten zur Geschichte der Gelehrten, und besonders der Streitigkeiten derselben, vom Homer an bis auf unsere Zeiten; Aus dem Franzosischen übersetzt.