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The Book of Were-Wolves: Being an Account of a Terrible Superstition - Sabine Baring-Gould

1865 - Smith, London - First Edition
Nearly as rare as it’s subjects, a first edition of the foundation work on shape-shifting, were-wolves, and the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s descriptions of Count Dracula’s wolfish appearance. In original bright pictorial gilt cloth, were-wolf to the front and the dark frontispiece of The Were-Wolves and their prey. Suitably housed in a blood red morocco leather clamshell case, lined with felt, and lettered in gilt.

‘The Book of Were-Wolves takes a rationalistic approach to the subject, the first ten chapters of this book constitute an essential work on the subject; however, starting with Chapter XI, the narrative takes a strange turn into sensationalistic 'true crime' case-studies of cannibals, grave desecrators, and blood fetishists, which have a tenuous connection with lycanthropy. This includes an extended treatment of the case of Giles de Rais, the notorious associate of Joan of Arc, who was convicted and executed for necrosadistic crimes.’

The author, eclectic British scholar, vicar, archaeologist, historian, Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924) inspired
My Fair Lady, and wrote the hymn Onward Christian Soldiers. 
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Price HK$ 46,000



An Historical, Physiological and Theological Treatise of Spirits, Apparitions, Witchcrafts, and other Magical Practices - Jonh (John) Beaumont, Gent.

1705 - Printed for D. Browne, London - First Edition
With engraved frontispiece by Michael Van der Gucht of ‘An Evil Genius’, ‘Two Good Genii’, and ‘Jews going out in the Moonshine to know their Fortune’.

John Beaumont, a British surgeon and geologist, ‘was a man of considerable reading, of excessive credulity, and a firm believer in supernatural agency. His principal and certainly most curious performance,
An Historical, Physiological, and Theological Treatise of Spirits, Apparitions, Witchcrafts is written in an amusing, gossiping style, and abounds with grotesque tales and illustrations from little-known authors. His personal experience of spirits, good and bad, was long and varied (pages 91-4, 393-7); but he innocently contrives to lessen the effect of his narration by adding that in their frequent visitations “all would disswade me from drinking too freely”’ - Dictionary of National Bibliography. 
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Price HK$ 17,000



Commentaries on the Laws of England. - William Blackstone, Esq. Solicitor General to Her Majesty

1770 - The Clarendon Press, Oxford - Fourth Edition
It Is Better That Ten Persons Escape, Than That One Innocent Suffer.

‘Blackstone's great work on the laws of England is the extreme example of justification of an existing state of affairs by virtue of its history. Until the ‘Commentaries’, the ordinary Englishman had viewed the law as a vast, unintelligible and unfriendly machine; nothing but trouble, even danger, was to be expected from contact with it. Blackstone's great achievement was to popularise the law and the traditions which had influenced its formation.’
Printing and the Mind of Man.

An attractive four volume quarto set [28 x 23 cm] in contemporary full calf binding. With two engraved tables, being the
Table of Consanguinity [Vol. II p.203] and the folding Table of Descents [Vol. II p.240]. 
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Price HK$ 40,000



Selections from the Popular Poetry of The Hindoos - Thomas Duer Broughton [Editor Translator]

1814 - Printed by Whittingham and Rowland for John Martin, London - First Edition
A pretty and scarce first edition of the first published anthology of Hindi Poets. Internally fine and unopened. 
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Price HK$ 5,000



A Treatise on Cobbett's Corn - William Cobbett

1828 - By William Cobbett, London - First Edition
In 1820 on returning from the United States, were he had fled fearing arrest for his arguably seditious writings, Cobbett established a plant nursery at Kensington, where he trialed a dwarf strain of maize he found growing in a French cottage garden which grew well in England’s shorter summer. To help sell this variety, Cobbett published Treatise on Cobbett’s Corn. Charmingly written, including anecdotes of his travels through America, and the farming techniques and people he encounters there. The title and contents pages are printed on paper made from the husks and stalks of ‘Indian Corn’ (Maize).  
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Price HK$ 2,500



The Morals of Confucius - Confucius

1760 -1780 Circa - Printed for Randal Taylor, London - First Thus
A later 18th century reprint of this work and the first to include the folding frontispiece engraving of Confucius (often missing). First published in 1691 and scarce in any early edition, more so this edition with the engraving. In contemporary binding, and with decorations to title page, six headpieces, and three tailpieces.

Beginning with a ‘
Preface’ introducing this translation and its sources, followed by ‘Part First’ titled ‘Of the Antiquity and Philosophy of the Chinese’, then ‘Part II’ which offers selected translations from the three books, and ends with 80 ‘Maxims’.

‘The great Chinese teacher Confucius (551 BC–479 BC) articulated a philosophy based on the concepts of ren (‘benevolence’ or ‘compassion’) and li (‘ritual’ or ‘propriety’). He hoped to create the ideal, superior man (junzi) and thereby facilitate a just society.

Confucius’s teachings were highly influential across China and large areas of east Asia for almost two millennia before this 1691 work offered English readers their first introduction to his philosophical approach. It provides an account of Confucius’s life and times, as well as 80 of his maxims.

This English-language text is based on a French-language edition published in 1688, which in turn relied on a Latin work of 1687 published in Paris.’ - Marsh’s Library, Dublin.
 
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Price HK$ 21,000



Mating Marriage and the Status of Women - James Corin

1910 - The Walter Scott Publishing Co. Ltd., London and Felling-on-Tyne - First Edition
‘The Object of the present treatise is to consider the development of the relations of the male and the female of the species.’ And onward Corin bravely goes. This rare treatise is still referenced today, and must of been of importance at the time, this copy was owned by the ‘Liberator League’ of Bradford.

Corin summarises his theories in the final chapter as follows:- ‘In the first period the human female rules. She dictates to the male in sexual affairs — this is free mating...

In the second period the male captures foreign females for his use, because his own are too chaste; these foreign females become his slave wives. He courts and mates with females of his own tribe at yearly festivals like Australian corroborees.

In the third period the institution of marriage has become the dominant form . . . so much so that mating unions become regularised as marriages or are condemned as illicit. Of females, wives are more honoured than free mates — in fact the latter become infamous except in a few cases of royal princesses...

In the fourth period the female recognises and revolts against her inferior position; restrictions on dissolution of marriage are relaxed, and by easy divorce, conditions nearly approaching those of free-mating are again evolved...

In the fifth period, social disruption occurs, conquest by a lower type takes place. The male seizes the opportunity to reinstate the fetters of matrimony and to rivet the links more tightly on the female. so that something of the third period is entered into again.’
 
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Price HK$ 1,900



The Origin of Species - Charles Darwin

1891 - John Murray, London - Sixth Edition, with Additions and Corrections (Forty-First Thousand).
‘It is now fully recognized that the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species brought about a revolution in man’s attitude toward life and his own place in the universe. This work is rightly regarded as one of the most important books ever published, and a knowledge of it should be part of the intellectual equipment of every educated person. The book remains surprisingly modern in its assertions and is also remarkably accessible to the layman, much more so than recent treatises necessarily encumbered with technical language and professional jargon’. - Harvard University Press.

A near fine example of the sixth edition, considered the last significant edition, and to which Darwin made his final and extensive revisions, this was also the first edition in which he used the word
evolution which had commonly been associated with embryological development [though all editions concluded with the word evolved ], Darwin also added a new chapter VII, Miscellaneous Objections, to address George Jackson Mivart's detailed arguments against natural selection in On the Genesis of Species published in 1871.

In
Origin of Species Darwin ‘not only drew an entirely new picture of the workings of organic nature; he revolutionized our methods of thinking and our outlook on the natural order of things. The recognition that constant change is the order of the universe had been finally established and a vast step forward in the uniformity of nature had been taken.’ – Printing and the Mind of Man. 
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Price HK$ 7,000



 
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