Very rare second edition, with a cancel title, of this famous work by Jean Bodin which “was very fashionable at the time and has been translated into Latin since 1581”. Tchemerzine, I, 721; Obadia, Bibliographie française de la sorcellerie, n°843. Not mentioned by Caillet.
“Edition not mentioned by the bibliographers” Dorbon, 387.
The work, published for the first time in 1580, is dedicated to the president Christophe de Thou, father of the historian and collector Jacques-Auguste. Often reprinted, translated into Latin since 1581, it soon stands out at the time as a “breviary of the judges in the actions for the evil spells” (F. Renz, Jean Bodin, p. 73) and is today one of the best documents about sorcery trials in the 16th century.
“A work full of oddness and strangeness. In a chapter, he talks about a character still alive, who had a familiar demon, as Socrates, a spirit who made himself known by this character when he was 37, and who since led his steps and actions: if he did something good, the spirit would pull his right ear, and the left one if he did something wrong. We believe that the character was Bodin himself”. (Bulletin Morgand et Fatout, n°4635).
Montaigne liked Bodin’s lucidity and tolerance regarding the political matters and was, according to Villey, strongly influenced by the author of the ‘Six livres de la république’ (‘Six books of the republic’) though he disavowed him with his belief in sorcery. For Bodin, the incredible operations of the sorcerers are the work of demons. Thus each part of nature becomes the playground of a demon. If it exists an “association of the spirits with men” (Bodin), then the eccentricities of the world and the sometimes extreme diversity of the human spirits can be explained by a “diabolic art” creator of “wonders”.
Very pure copy preserved in its first contemporary overlapping limp vellum binding.
Provenance: ex-libris Biblioth. Gasp. Fromensii Valent, 1625 on the title, another ex-libris formerly crossed out. Stamp repeated on p. 66.