A Paris, Chez Charles Savreux, au pied de la Tour de Nostre Dame, 1662.
12mo [151 x 86 mm] of 473 pp. and (3) ll. including an errata and a privilege. Full brown calf, spine ribbed and decorated. Contemporary binding.
Extremely rare first edition of “The Logic of Port Royal”, “this famous work” (Brunet), the main work of Jansenist thought and “one of the most important works in the history of thought on the study of language and grammar.”
S.M. Nadler, Arnauld and the Cartesian Philosophy of Ideas, Manchester, 1989 ; Brunet, V, 1145.
This philosophical work due to two eminent jansenists: the great Arnauld and Pierre Nicole “is a jewel of classical humanism and a masterpiece of Cartesian clarity, of an unmatched elegance.”
“‘The logic of Port-Royal’, a chief work of Jansenist thought and one of the most important works in the history of thought on language and grammar” (S. M. Nadler, Arnauld and the Cartesian Philosophy of Ideas, Manchester 1989).
The work “embodies the pedagogical principles of the schools associated with Pot-Royal. For a long time it was considered an essential part of young Frenchman’s education” (Nadler).
Copies of this first edition are of great rarity. A second edition, with different imprint and pagination and without the errata, appeared later in 1662.
“The Logic” is conceived in the midst of the religious persecution of the Jansenists.
Antoine Arnauld, retired in Port-Royal is excluded from the Sorbonne in 1656. Jesuits absolutely want to obtain the closing of the Port-Royal schools because they dread that the solitaries take away from them the education of the youth.
Port Royal indeed has excellent teachers to whom we owe the best educational books of the time, erudite methods for the study of ancient languages, a geometry, a general grammar and a “logic” that still today keep their acuteness. These preceptors are named Lancelot, Arnauld, Nicole and Le Maître de Sacy.
Nicole who followed Antoine Arnaud in all his retreats from 1654 to 1679 actively collaborated to the elaboration of “The Logic”.
This major work is evidently listed in the selection of works of reference made by the National Library: “En Français dans le texte, Dix siècles de lumières par le livre”, n° 100, p. 125.
Originally conceived as a pedagogical treatise, The Logic was written at first for the education of the young Duke of Chevreuse.
The authors thus explain in the Preface that they grew passion for the subject they developed in 5 days while they originally intended to devote it one day.
The printing was likewise made necessary due to the circulation of a few defective handwritten copies, this first edition fixing the exact text of the work, considerably enlarged compared to the manuscript.
The privilege is granted to a “Monsieur le Bon” to ensure anonymity to the two famous Jansenist controversies during a very troubled period.
The fourth part, very important is attributed to Arnauld only and the way in which the principles are formulated is really masterful.
« La connaissance des choses, acquise au moyen de l’esprit, donne la véritable certitude, qui dépasse celle que nous devons seulement aux sens. »
The Logic supports the absolute supremacy of reason in the acquisition of man’s knowledge of the natural world, leaving aside, however, the sphere of religion for the rule of authority and faith.
« La Logique de Port-Royal (en particulier les « Discours préliminaires » de Nicole) donne au cartésianisme une orientation morale qu’il ne semble pas avoir chez Descartes lui-même. »
The influence of The Logic was tremendous on philosophers, from Locke to Kant.
Very precious first edition, of the utmost rarity, of a major text within the history of ideas in the 17th century.
Extremely rare copy in contemporary condition and with large margins (height: 151 mm).
The Booskop Patrick Sourget never cataloged this first edition but presented in 2002, 17 years ago, a shorter copy (height: 146 mm) of the second edition published the same year bound in sheepskin, with the same pagination, a different title leave and without privilege, priced at 25 000 €.
From the libraries Le Carpentier and Fossart.