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COMTE, Auguste.

Cours de philosophie positive.

Paris: Bachelier, 1830-42 Stock Code: 110733
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"One of the major documents of secular philosophy" (PMM)

First edition of Comte's canonical statement of positivism, one of the major philosophical texts of the 19th century; this copy carrying detailed annotations by a leading contemporary French zoologist. "The remarkable achievement of Comte, all arguments about the validity of his theories aside, is the construction of a system which embraces all human activity and knowledge" (PMM).

Provenance: from the library of Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville (1777-1850), French zoologist and anatomist, member of the French Académie des Sciences, and from 1830 successor to Lamarck in the chair of natural history at the museum (a note on the front free endpaper of volume I states: "Notes manuscrites de Ducrotay de Blainville"); extensively annotated throughout with pencilled marginalia and ink annotations to paper slips tipped-in at various intervals. Some annotations were clearly slightly trimmed upon binding, the notes presumably having been made when the work was still in the original wrappers or boards. There is an extended piece on de Blainville in David M. Damkaer's The Copepodologist's Cabinet: A Biographical and Bibliographical History (2002), where his work on lernaeids (a type of copepod or small crustacean) is highlighted: "The 1820s yielded one major effort on the peculiar parasitic forms of copepods. This was de Blainville's memoir on lernaeids, the first monograph to review and revise a single, extensive copepod group. De Blainville came the closest yet to recognising these forms as crustaceans".

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6 volumes, octavo (200 x 123 mm). Contemporary red roan-backed pebble-grain paper-covered boards, spines lettered and decorated in gilt in compartments, marbled endpapers, edges sprinkled.


Folding synoptic table in vol. 1.


Bookplates of W. Bourke Cockran (1854-1923), New York congressman and friend of the Churchills (whose oratorical skills are said to have influenced the young Winston). Bindings professionally furbished, scattered foxing (heavy in places). An attractive set, complete with half-titles.


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