Horae Subsecuiae. Observations and Discourses.

London, Edward Blunt, 1620.

8vo. Contemporary full speckled calf, expertly rebacked to style with four raised bacds and gilt line-decoration. Front free end-paper with notes dated 1637. Note station "Lord Bacon" in early hand to title-page. P. 57 with a 20th century stamp ("Library of Washington University"). A bit closely shaved at top, occasionally cropping border. A very nice copy. (8), 222, (4 - 1 blank leaf and 1 leaf with half-title "A Discourse Upon the Beginning of Tacitus"), pp., pp. 223-324, (1 f. with half-title: A Discourse Of Rome), pp. 325-(418), (1 f. with half-title: A Discourse Against Flatterie), pp. 419-(504), (1 f. with half-title: A Discourse of Lawes), pp. 505-542.

The very rare first edition of this extremely important collection of essays, three of which have now been proven to have been written by Thomas Hobbes, thus constituting his earliest published work.

The work is now widely regarded a highly important source to the understanding of what is arguably the greatest political thinker of all time, providing us with unprecedented access to the early writings and thought of Thomas Hobbes.

"Studies of the early Hobbes can be enriched and deepened by a consideration of the formerly anonymous texts now identified as the philosopher's earliest work, namely the essays "A Discourse on Tacitus", "A Discourse on Rome", "A Discourse on Laws", found in a larger collection entitled "Horae Subseciuae: Observations and Discourses". Originally thought to have been the work of the young William Cavendish, who under Hobbes's supervision likely wrote the majority of the "Horae" essays, these three discourses have since been identified... as the work of Hobbes himself." (Butler).

"The entire work consists of twelve essays or "observations" reminiscent in style and language of Bacon's essays and devoted to such topics as arrogance, expenses, reading history, religion, and death, and four much longer discourses, three of which we have been able to attribute to Hobbes." (Reynolds & Saxenhouse p. 4).

Efforts to identify the author of the "Horae Subseciuae" began almost immediately after its anonymous publication, and the publication has always been a source of speculation about the author. As it would turn out, all twelve essays were not written by the same author, and three of them were written by one of modernity's greatest philosophers.

It was Leo Strauss who first provided something resembling evidence that the writings were by Thomas Hobbes. He had come upon the original manuscript and concluded that it was indeed in Hobbes's hand. But handwriting, of course, does not prove authorship. It does prove a connection, with the work, however, and the exact connection with the three essays would be proven some decades later, by Saxonhouse and Reynolds, who famously published the three essays together, under Hobbes's name for the first time.

"For the first time in three centuries, this book brings back into print three discourses now confirmed to have been written by the young Thomas Hobbes. Their contents may well lead to a resolution of the long-standing controversy surrounding Hobbes's early influences and the subsequent development of his thought. The volume begins with the recent history of the discourses, first published as part of the anonymous seventeenth-century work, "Horae Subsecivae". Drawing upon both internal evidence and external confirmation afforded by new statistical "wordprinting" techniques, the editors present a compelling case for Hobbes's authorship.

Saxonhouse and Reynolds present the complete texts of the discourse with full annotations and modernized spellings. These are followed by a lengthy essay analyzing the pieces' significance for Hobbes's intellectual development and modern political thought more generally. The discourses provide the strongest evidence to date for the profound influences of Bacon and Machiavelli on the young Hobbes, and they add a new dimension to the much-debated impact of the scientific method on his thought. The book also contains both introductory and in-depth explanations of statistical "wordprinting."

Saxonhouse and Reynolds met each other at a conference in 1988 and decided to join forces to determine, whether Thomas Hobbes was the actual author of the "Horae Subseciuae", which had often been speculated. "Fortuitously, Reynolds was closely involved with statisticians at Bringham Young University who have done some of the most important work in developing statistical techniques for identifying authorship for disputed texts, or "wordprinting." ...
The results relative to the "Horae Subseciuae" were both exhilarating and disappointing. The three discourses published here could definitely be attributed to Hobbes, but the volume's twelve shorter essays or observations which draw heavily on Baconian themes and language, portraying the passionate young aristocrat with all his foibles, and the fourth discourse, were authored by someone else - perhaps Hobbes's tutee, but clearly not Hobbes himself.
While it would have been more satisfying to have the entire work match Hobbes's later writings, we thought that the identification of the three discourses as previously unrecognized and unacknowledged Hobbesian works was of great significance and that they were worthy of republication. These three discourses give us direct access to Hobbes's intellectual concerns and motivating interests at a point almost two decades earlier than was possible through his previous recognized writings." (Reynolds & Saxenhouse, pp. VII-VIII).

Apart from a poem in his hand, nothing had remained to help us understand the early intellectual development of Hobbes and the early influences upon his thought, before his translation of Thucydides, which appeared in 1627, when he was almost 40 years old.
These important early texts give us access to Hobbes's early thought, thereby letting us understand how he developed his political science.

Shortly after taking his degree, Hobbes became engaged as a tutor to the Cavendish family, with whom he maintained a close connection for the rest of his life. Hobbes was first hired to serve as a tutor and companion to William Cavendish, later the Second Earl of Devonshire, and subsequently taught William's son and grandson. In 1610, Hobbes and his first charge embarked on a grand tour of the continent, traveling primarily to France and Italy.
Hobbes remained with William for the next twenty years, later serving as his secretary and becoming a close friend and confidant. It has previously been thought that Hobbes published nothing during this time, but as it has recently turned out, he did indeed contribute the three essays "A Discourse on Tacitus", "A Discourse on Rome", "A Discourse on Laws" to the "Horae Subseciuae", that was presumably publiahed by William Cavendish, who arguably wrote if not all, then most of the other essays in the volume. Shortly after William died, Hobbes published the first translation of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War into English (1628). During this period, Hobbes also worked occasionally for the Lord Chancellor and great scientist Francis Bacon, who highly valued him as a secretary, translator, and conversation partner, and to whom the present work has also be ascribed during the centuries.

Noel B. Reynolds and Arlene W. Saxenhouse in: "Three Discourses: A Critical Modern edition of Newly Identified Work of the Young Thomas Hobbes", 1995.
Todd Butler: Imagination and Politics in Seventeenth-Century England, 2017

Order-nr.: 60300

DKK 225.000,00