"A 'COPERNICAN REVOLUTION' IN MODERN THOUGHT": FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF MARTIN BUBER'S PROFOUNDLY INFLUENTIAL I AND THOU, 1937, AN EXCEPTIONAL COPY IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS
BUBER, Martin. I and Thou. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1937. Octavo, original printed tan wrappers. Housed in a custom slipcase. $4500.
First edition in English of Buber's greatest work—"in relation to his life and thought and times I and Thou stands in the same way as the Republic in relation to Plato… it constitutes a revolution"—especially scarce in fragile original wrappers, housed in a custom slipcase.
Martin Buber is "one of the major philosophical and religious thinkers of the 20th century… his distinction between the I-Thou and the I-It relationships has been called a 'Copernican revolution' in modern thought" (Moonan, Martin Buber). In his life and work, "he achieved the rare distinction of being listened to with great interest by Jew and non-Jew, by believer and agnostic, by atheists and humanists" (Geering, World of Relation, 1). "The intellectual history of early 20th-century Europe, the history of Zionism and the history of the State of Israel would be substantially incomplete without reference to Buber's work… in essence he could be described as an eminent public intellectual whose deeply felt, unconventional Jewishness was a source of pride, open-mindedness and moral commitment" (Biemann, Martin Buber Reader, 14).
I and Thou "gathers up all the preceding stages of his development and furnishes insights that were to be developed in his later works… In relation to his life and thought and times I and Thou stands in much the same way as the Republic in relation to Plato… Rooted in an impulse toward developing the fullness of life, in whose service philosophy is seen to stand… it constitutes a revolution" (Wood, Martin Buber's Ontology, xiii, 3). "When Ronald Gregor Smith translated I and Thou into English in 1937 he called it a 'philosophical-religious poem'… it may be regarded as the definitive expression of Buber's thought" (Geering, 9). "The starting point of Buber's philosophy is not man in himself nor the world in itself but rather the relation between man and the world. In I and Thou Buber distinguished two basic forms of relation—the I-Thou and I-It… The I-Thou relation is characterized by mutuality, openness, directness and presentness; the I-It, by the absence of these qualities. The I-Thou relation is a true dialogue in which both partners speak to one another as equals" (Encyclopedia Judaica). First published in German in 1922, titled Ich und Du. Faint early owner signature dated '47." Partial bookseller ticket.
Text very fresh, trace of edge-wear to spine head minimally affecting title, tiny bit of expert tissue reinforcement to price-clipped wrappers. An impressive near-fine copy.