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David Hume – A Treatise of Human Nature in German, 1790, 1791, 1792

David Hume über die menschliche Natur, aus dem Englischen, nebst kritischen Versuchen zur Beurteilung dieses Werks von Ludwig Heinrich Jakob. Erster Band: Ueber den menschlichen Verstand. Zweiter Band: Ueber die Leidenschaften. Dritter Band: Ueber die Moral. Halle: Hemmerde und Schwetschke, 1790, 1791, 1792.

3 volumes in two, 8vo, [viii], 843, [1]; [iv], 314, [xvi], 302 pp., contemporary tree calf, spines decorated gilt with black morocco labels, spines and joints with a few small worm holes, decorative endpapers, two of the three title-pages with an early ownership name in the top margin and cancelled library stamps on versos – ‘Biblioth. Reg. Scient. Universit. Hungaricae’ – underlining and reading marks in old crayon on about 20 pages, light foxing in places and occasional spots, a few leaves age-toned, internally very good, a handsome copy, extremely rare in this condition.

Complete first German edition of one of the most important books in the history of philosophy (PMM 194). Hume famously said the Treatise ‘fell dead-born from the press’ when it was published in 1739-40, and indeed a second English edition didn’t appear until 1817. Ludwig Heinrich Jakob’s was the first translation of the Treatise into any language, and no other edition of any kind appeared in the eighteenth century (a French translation was not published until 1878). After the true first, this must count as the most important edition of Hume’s greatest work.

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