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Essai philosophique concernant l’entendement humain,
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LOCKE, John.

Essai philosophique concernant l’entendement humain,

où l'on montre quelle est l'étendue de nos connoissances certaines et la manière dont nous y parvenons. Traduit de l'anglois de Mr. Locke, par Pierre Coste, sur la quatrième édition, revue, corrigée, & augmentée par l'auteur.

Published: Amsterdam: Henri Schelte, 1700

Stock code: 88475

Price: £9,500

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First edition of Coste’s translation of Locke’s Essay concerning human understanding. Presentation inscription, “Pour Mr. Toinard chez Mr. Des Noyers devant l’épée royale dans la rue Mazarine à Paris: de la part de Mr. Locke” on front free endpaper. This translation was conducted under Locke’s own supervision from the MS of the fourth edition, which did not appear until after mid-April 1700. Locke was keen to see his work available to a wider audience than the English editions might reach, and worked closely with Coste. Contemporary reviewers such as Jean Le Clerq and Locke himself in his address to the bookseller were equal in their praise of the translation, both for its accuracy and for its clarity. The present copy is of particular interest, bearing a presentation inscription to Nicolas Toinard, whom Locke first met in 1678 and who “remained his lifelong friend and his most assiduous correspondent” (Cranston). It was through Toinard that Locke was introduced to many French intellectuals and learned societies. In a letter dated 23 April 1700 Locke advises Toinard that the translation has been printed and that he has asked the Dutch bookseller to send him a copy. A magnificent association copy.

Quarto (242 181 mm). Contemporary calf, spine elaborately decorated gilt in compartments, red morocco label, edges painted. Engraved frontispiece portrait of Locke by Pieter van Gunst after John Greenhill. Covers a little rubbed, corners worn, fore-edge of inscription damp marked; occasional light foxing and the odd marginal ink stain. A very good copy with an excellent provenance.

Bibliography: Attig 349; Christophersen, p. 27; Yolton 91.

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