London: Printed for A.C. and to be sold by J. Martin, and J. Ridley, 1650. First English language edition. Bound in contemporary full calf with a partial paper spine label. This early binding is unrestored and is holding well, despite some cracking along the joints and wear at the corners. Pages are toned and there is a small stub affixed to leaf A10, with the title written on it in a contemporary hand. Twelvemo (pages measure 145 x 85 mm), collates complete: [xxx], 173, [1 blank]. Overall a pleasing copy of a very scarce book.
Copies appear in the auction record in 1961, '78, '98 and 2006. All copies but the Macclesfield copy in later bindings and trimmed close. With the word "rare" often tossed about, this book truly deserves the designation.
Descartes' final work before his death, originally published in French in 1649. The work is broken into three books: "the first treating of the passions in general, and occasionally of the whole nature of man. The second, of the number, and order of the passions, and the explication of the six primitive ones. The third, of particular passions." Descartes takes a scientific, physiological view of passions and finds that they are generally beneficial to man, although they can and must be kept under control. Where earlier works by Descartes deal with the methodology and theory of knowledge, "The Passions" focuses on how to be a good and moral person in the practical sense. (Item #1584)