The Beautiful and the Sublime
BURKE, Edmund. Philosophical Enquiry into Our Ideas of Sublime and Beautiful. London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley , 1757.
First edition, limited to 500 copies. Octavo. viii, [8], 184 pp. Bound without half-title.

Contemporary calf. With an early inscription of John Digby, Jr., and an armorial bookplate of John Hamilton Sirée. A very good copy of this vastly influential seminal work, a cornerstone of Romanticism and modern thought.

This work achieved great popularity at the time and went through nine editions in thirty years. Burke (1729-1797) more than any of his contemporaries, saw the aesthetic function as a result of passion rather than reason, and thereby set the course of anti-rational explanations of beauty. His inquiries into pleasure and pain, joy and grief, privation, infinity, light, sound, words, etc., form the background of his argument, which seems very modern: "A mode of terror, or of pain, is always the cause of the sublime" (p. 130).

Todd 5a, variant 2a, 2b. Vinet 80.

HBS # 66523 $3,500