PARACELSUS, AGRIPPA, BACON, PYTHAGORAS: FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF NAUDÉ’S “BEST KNOWN AND MOST IMPORTANT” HISTORY OF MAGICK, 1657
NAUDAEUS, G. [NAUDÉ, Gabriel]. The History of Magick By way of Apology, For all the Wise Men who have unjustly been reputed Magicians, from the Creation, to the Present Age. Written in French, by G. Naudaeus… Englished by J. Davies. London: John Streater, 1657. Small octavo (4-3/4 by 6-3/4 inches), contemporary full brown calf rebacked. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $6000.
First edition in English of the famous 17th-century history of magic, a defense of accused magicians throughout the ages, written by esteemed French scholar and librarian Gabriel Naudé, very scarce in contemporary boards.
First published in France in 1625, “Gabriel Naudé’s best known and most important work was probably the Apolgie pour les grands personages faussement soupçonnés de magie [The History of Magick…]. Librarian to the Cardinal de Bagni in Italy, and subsequently to Richelieu and Mazarin,” Gabriel Naudé was also once physician to Louis XIII (Harvey & Heseltine, 509). “This famous book… was written in defence of celebrated scientists accused of being magicians or sorcerers. Among the men defended by Naudé are: Cardanus, Geber, Lullius, Arnaldus de Villanova, Paracelsus, Agrippa von Nettesheym, R. Bacon,” Pythagoras, Socrates, Thomas Aquinas and others (Duveen, 423). In exonerating these figures, Naudé established four categories of magic—divine, theurgic, natural and witchcraft—distinguishing the first three as licit and witchcraft as illicit. “A man variously described as ‘one of the more well-traveled academicians,’ ‘who was enthusiastically admired by scholars all over Europe,” Naudé created for Cardinal Mazarin the fourth greatest European library of its day (Rayward, Four Lives in Search of a Story). Translated into English by J. Davies. With leaf of advertisements at rear; without half title and free endpapers. Occasional mispagination as issued without loss of text. Biblliotheca Osleriana 5215. Lowndes, 1654. Wing N-246. See Caillet 7923. See Matterlin F1.600. Early owner inscription dated 1736, probably that of England’s Sir Hungerford Hoskins, Fourth Baronet (c.1677-1767). A descendant of one of the founders of the Royal Society, Sir Hungerford Hoskins fought in the War of Spanish Succession under the Duke of Marlborough, and served in the House of Commons. Later American owner inscription. Occasional very light marginalia.
Text generally fresh with some edge-wear, dampstaining, some rubbing, slight edge-wear to boards. A very good copy, scarce in contemporary calf.