Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
FIRST EDITION, type B, the definitive authorized version. Observing in his opening words that “man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains,” Rousseau offered this work as a yardstick with which to judge existing governments. He argued that the central problem is to “find a form of association which can defend and protect with all the power of the community the person and possessions of each associate, and by which each person unites himself with all, but only obeys himself and thereby remains as free as before.”
POE, EDGAR ALLAN
Tales. London: Wiley and Putnam, 1845
FIRST EDITION, ENGLISH ISSUE with the cancel London title page. This is an excellent copy of one of the rarest forms of Poe’s tales, issued in the original cloth from the American sheets with a London title page.
Ulysses. Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922
FIRST EDITION. This is one of 750 numbered copies (from an edition of 1000) of the most sought-after book of 20th-century literature.
Tragediae Septem cum commentariis. (Edited by Aldus Manutius and John Gregoropoulos). Venice: Aldus Manutius, August, 1502
Editio princeps of the seven surviving complete plays of Sophocles, the greatest of the Greek tragedians. This volume contains the first printing of Oedipus Rex, generally considered the greatest Greek tragedy.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer’s Comrade). New York: Webster, 1885
FIRST AMERICAN EDITION in the publisher’s deluxe binding. This copy has the rare first state of the illustration on p. 283, as well as the other earliest points described in BAL.
“Every man has a certain sphere of discretion which he has a right to expect shall not be infringed by his neighbours. This right flows from the very nature of man.”GODWIN, WILLIAM
Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its influence on General Virtue and Happiness. London: Robinson, 1793
FIRST EDITION. In Political Justice, his most famous work, Godwin responds to Burke’s attacks on the French Revolution and Thomas Paine. He applies the principles of the Revolution to inquire into the philosophical basis of government. Believing that political and social institutions are tyrannical and corrupt, Godwin calls for reason to guide human affairs and advocates individual liberty.
STOWE, HARRIET BEECHER
Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, life among the lowly. Boston: Jewett, 1852
FIRST EDITION, FIRST PRINTING. “These books are of such paramount historical importance that it is difficult to evaluate them as literature” (Merle Johnson). “Three thousand copies were sold on the day of publication, and before its first anniversary, over 300,000 copies were sold in America … More than twenty London editions appeared in 1852, so the English audience must have been as large as the American. No other American novel has been translated into so many foreign languages” (Grolier/American).