London (Amsterdam): NP, 1775. Ex-Library, Nouvelle edition. Hardcover. Octavos. Vol.1: 400pp. Vol.2: 448pp. Period brown calf with gilt ruling along the edges of the covers and gilt tooling on the spine. Gilt lettering over red and black labels on the spine. A small stamp of "The John Crerar Library" in gilt lettering is at the bottom left corners of the front covers. All edges gilt, detelles and marbled endpapers. Green ribbon markers. This is a beautifully bound early edition of Holbach's influential enlightenment-era philosophical work, originally and famously attributed to Jean-Baptiste de Mirabaud. The back of volume 2 contains a limited table of contents.
Among the ideas espoused are that those philosophical materialism, claiming that the universe works as matter in motion, governed by the laws of cause and effect, without need for any sort of deity or supernatural power. Holbach denies the existence of any sort of soul beyond the mind's existence as an function of the brain. The author also discusses the distinction between mythology and theology. Holbach's challenge to religious and social beliefs systems from a moral perspective was seen as an affront to the organized religious power structures and the monarchy, and was the cause for many written reponses in the form of refutations and polemics in its day. The work is known one of the earliest works of modern atheism. Some scholar's believe that Denis Diderot, the enlightenment philosopher and close friend of Holbach, was influential on the work, and may have even contributed in part, to the writing. Text in French.
Bindings with rubbing to extremities. Leather on the covers and on the hinges of the spines with some cracking. Gilt decoration on the spines rubbed. The spine of volume 2 is loosening at the hinge. Light chipping to the heads and tails of the spines. Interiors with library bookplates and pockets pasted on at the interior front and back covers. Library ink stamps on the front endpapers of each volume, as well as perforated stamps at the top of the title page and on p.207 of vol.1, and at p. 253 of vol.2. Minor sporadic foxing throughout the volumes. Bindings in good-, interiors in very good condition overall. g- to vg. Item #42792
* The book is known to have actually been published in Amsterdam, contrary to being printed as "Londres" (London).
* The final "V" on the publication date in both volumes, seems to have been purposely removed at some point, in order to pass this copy off as an original 1770 first edition.