Confessions and Testament of August Comte: and his correspondence with Clotilde de Vaux.

Liverpool, Young, 1910.

8vo, pp. xi, [1 (blank)], [2], 547, [1 (blank)]; photographic frontispiece depicting medallion of Comte and Clotilde, and a further two photographic plates; endpapers lightly toned, otherwise a very good copy in original green cloth, spine gilt.


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Confessions and Testament of August Comte: and his correspondence with Clotilde de Vaux.

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First edition in English of Comte’s Confessions, which first appeared with his ‘testament’ in French in 1884. These take the form of ‘Twelve Saint Clotildes’, a series of annual confessions which he recited to his muse’s grave. Clotilde de Vaux was a divorced woman whom Comte met in 1844 through one of his students; their first recorded letter was written in 1845, in which they are discussing Fielding’s Tom Jones. Clotilde rejected Comte’s love as a divorced woman and a devout Catholic, though they continued to correspond, until in the following year Clotilde died of tuberculosis, becoming a Saint of the Positivist religion. The ‘Testament’ is simply Comte’s legal will, in which can be found the details of the bequest of his books to various disciples, including the ‘small edition of the Divina Commedia, which serves me for daily use’.

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