CARTESIANISM IN CAMBRIDGE

Institutio philosophiae, secundum principia domini Renati Descartes, nova methodo adornata & explicata, in usum juventutis academicae.

London, J. Martyn, 1672.

8vo, pp. [xxi], [1, blank], 470, [2, errata, blank], bound without the additional engraved title; full-page copper-engraving printed to p. 220; a very good copy; bound in contemporary English speckled calf, boards panelled in blind, spine tooled in compartments in blind, edges speckled red; corners bumped, front joint partially split, small stains to front board; scattered notes in Latin and Greek and manicules in a contemporary English hand, extensive notes, inscriptions, pen-trials, and flourishes to front and rear endpapers (see below).

£875

Approximately:
US $1132€1039

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First edition of this influential work in the transmission of Descartes’s ideas in England, with rich evidence of multiple early English owners.

The Franciscan friar and philosopher Antoine Le Grand (1627/8–1699), educated at Douai and sent to teach philosophy in London in 1656, is best known for his role in disseminating Cartesian thought in England, with his works widely used in teaching at English universities. In 1671 he published an abridgment of Descartes’s philosophy intended for students, Philosophia veterum e mente Renati Descartes, and, ‘encouraged by its favourable reception, particularly at Cambridge,’ expanded it into the present work the following year (ODNB).

Provenance:
1. Ink ownership inscription ‘Thomæ Greek Liber’, likely Thomas Greeke (c. 1621–1719) of Cambridge, admitted at Peterhouse 18 January 1638/9, or possibly his father, also Thomas Greeke (c. 1591–1689), who matriculated from Trinity in 1609, was elected a Fellow in 1614, and was later appointed Rector of Carlton cum Willingham in Cambridgeshire.

2. Ink ownership inscription ‘Johannis Kegan liber Sum 1682’ to front free endpaper, with further inscriptions and a repeated diagram of the relationship of the four elements, and several annotations and manicules seemingly in his hand throughout the text.

3. Eighteenth-century ink inscription ‘These ffor Mr Hall Living at Broxesholme [i.e. Broxholme, Lincolnshire?]’ to rear free endpaper.

4. Numerous eighteenth-century ink inscriptions and pen-trials of ‘Margaret Stamford’ to rear endpapers.

5. Later (eighteenth-century?) inscription to title, ‘Given by Mr Green to me & succeeding Ministers of Stamborn [i.e. Stambourne, Essex?] Meeting’.

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