"THERE IS A TRUE RING OF GENIUS ABOUT ALL THAT HE SAYS": SCARCE 1653 ELZEVIR PRESS FIRST EDITION OF BACON'S SCRIPTA, HANDSOMELY BOUND
BACON, Francis. Scripta in Naturali et Universali Philosophia Historia Naturalis & Experimentalis de Ventis. Amsterdam: Ludovico Elzevir, 1653. 12mo, 19th-century full red crushed morocco, raised bands, marbled endpapers. $2200.
First edition of this "important collection of Bacon's minor writings," with engraved additional title page—an allegorical depiction of three philosophers with various scientific instruments at hand—and folding table, handsomely bound in full morocco by Duru et Chambolle in 1863.
"'I have taken all knowledge to be my province,' Bacon declared… He held to his course, if not 'beyond the utmost bound of human thought,' at least to the uttermost edge discernible in his day—and that, too, in every department of intellectual activity. Bacon's day was, perhaps, the latest moment in history when anything like omniscience was within the limits of human attainment; even in his day, Bacon's was, perhaps, the only mind that could achieve it" (Winterich, 205-6). He "stood, like a prophet, on the verge of the promised land, bidding men leave, without regret, the desert which lay behind them… there is the true ring of genius about all that he says" (DNB).
The Scripta is "an important collection of Bacon's minor writings" (Gibson), published posthumously, finely printed at the Elzevir press. In 1629 Bonaventura and Abraham Elzevir expanded the family printing business (begun at the University of Leiden in 1592) by initiating their famed pocket editions of Latin classics to promote wide circulation of accurate texts for everyday use. These books were printed with engraved title pages, narrow margins and a distinctive font of type, designed by Christoffel van Dijck, derivations of which have been employed by subsequent printers for centuries. Text in Latin. Gibson 223. Morocco bookplate.