Special Collections and University Archives

Thomas Hobbes, LEVIATHAN
London: Andrew Crook, 1676

The full title of this work—LEVIATHAN; OR THE MATTER, FORM, AND POWER OF A COMMONWEALTH, ECCLESIASTICAL AND CIVIL—gives an indication of its focus. First published in 1651, LEVIATHAN was from the first a controversial work in its insistence on the subordination of the individual to the State.

The four parts of this work are titled “Of Man,” “Of Commonwealth”, “Of a Christian Commonwealth,” and “Of the Kingdom of Darkness.” The last two chapters discuss Scripture at some length and make a pointed attack on what Hobbes saw as attempts by papists and Presbyterians to challenge and curb the rights and power of the king.

In LEVIATHAN, Hobbes analyzes conditions he felt were necessary for the peace and security of the State, then provides a program for organizing an ideal state.

Although the title page of this edition gives the publication date as 1651, a handwritten correction states that this printing is actually 1676. The handsome later binding is treated calfskin with an interesting blind-stamp design.

Detail of binding

– William K. Finley

Collector’s Talk and Reception
October 19th, 2010
4 -6 PM

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