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LE BON, Dr. Gustave.

The Crowd.

A Study of the Popular Mind.

London, T. Fisher Unwin, 1896 Stock Code: 140901
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First edition in English, first published in Paris the previous year as Psychologie des foules. Influential study in the development of the field of crowd psychology, perhaps the first work to address the subject outside of a criminological framework; "Le Bon held that as a result of the industrial revolution, the rise of modern cities and modern communication, life is coming to be characterized more and more by crowd assemblages... He pictured a crowd mind in which the conscious individualities of the assembled persons are virtually lost and in which the subconscious minds of the participants merge and dominate the situation. He pictured a crowd mind which sinks to a common mediocrity, is highly suggestible and is capable of great heroism or incredible savagery, depending on the motive and leadership. He contended that ideas once implanted in the crowd, primarily by reiteration, spread rapidly by contagion" (Seligman, Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences). Admirers of The Crowd have included Theodore Roosevelt, Mussolini, Freud, Ortega y Gasset, Hitler, Lenin and Edward Bernays. This copy with the inked ownership inscription of urban sociologist John Madge (1914-68) to the front free endpaper, and a scatter of pencilled marginalia to the text, sufficient to suggest that he would not number himself among Le Bon's admirers. Le Bon's conclusions are currently undergoing reassessment in the context of social media and AI.

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Octavo. Original dark red buckram, title gilt to the spine and front board.


A little rubbed, particularly at the spine which is also a touch sunned and crumpled head and tail with a short split at the head, front hinge just starting at the head but sound, endpapers browned, a scatter of foxing throughout, later Blackwell's ticket to the front pastedown, a very good copy.


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