The Political History of the Devil, as well Ancient as Modern, in Two Parts. Part I: containing a State of the Devil's Circumstances and Various Turns of his Affairs ... Part II: containing his More Private Conduct, down to the Present Times. Daniel DEFOE.
The Political History of the Devil, as well Ancient as Modern, in Two Parts. Part I: containing a State of the Devil's Circumstances and Various Turns of his Affairs ... Part II: containing his More Private Conduct, down to the Present Times ...
The Political History of the Devil, as well Ancient as Modern, in Two Parts. Part I: containing a State of the Devil's Circumstances and Various Turns of his Affairs ... Part II: containing his More Private Conduct, down to the Present Times ...
The Political History of the Devil, as well Ancient as Modern, in Two Parts. Part I: containing a State of the Devil's Circumstances and Various Turns of his Affairs ... Part II: containing his More Private Conduct, down to the Present Times ...

The Political History of the Devil, as well Ancient as Modern, in Two Parts. Part I: containing a State of the Devil's Circumstances and Various Turns of his Affairs ... Part II: containing his More Private Conduct, down to the Present Times ...

London, Printed for T. Warner, 1726 [first edition].

Octavo, [viii], 408 pages plus an engraved frontispiece.

Early 'Cambridge'-style panelled calf, later rebacked with cloth but retaining the original backstrip with burgundy morocco labels lettered and tooled in gilt (minor loss to the head and foot, and now with a protective layer of glossy varnish or paste applied during the indifferent conservation process); edges sprinkled red; endpapers and initial binder's blank offset and discoloured; scattered light foxing; minimal signs of age and use (including a short sealed tear to three leaves); a very good copy (internally in excellent condition).

The first edition of this work on the supernatural published anonymously by Daniel Defoe (circa 1660-1731), better known as a novelist, satirist and journalist. 'Defoe, a Protestant Dissenter, believed in the devil as a physical being at work in the world. "The Political History of the Devil" suggests that the devil appears on earth both in his own form and through inhabiting the bodies and minds of other beings. Defoe was strongly anti-Catholic and here he associates the devil with Catholicism, specifically with the Pope' (British Library website). It is perhaps telling that the frontispiece depicts the Pope surrounded by Catholic prelates, with a Turk and woman 'en décolleté' in the foreground, both with cloven hooves!

'Part I gives an account of the Devil after his expulsion from Heaven, together with "Mr Milton's absurdities on that subject" (p. 77), and of his establishing a new kingdom after the Flood. Part II discusses his "Agents or Missionaries" (p. 226) (witches, warlocks, oracles, etc), his part in pagan religion and his personal appearance, including his famous cloven foot, bringing his history down to the present' (Furbank: 'A Critical Bibliography of Daniel Defoe', #228, page 221).

Provenance: Charles Fairfax Murray, influential artist and art dealer associated with the Pre-Raphaelite School, with his library label on the front pastedown. Earlier provenance from the library of John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu (1689-1749), with his gilt armorial stamp on the lower spine label (a griffin's head, ducal coronet and garter), and with an engraved library label featuring the same crest on the front pastedown (with manuscript insertions in pencil indicating that this book was housed in Case B, Shelf 6. The stamp does not match precisely any of the six stamps associated with Montagu illustrated in the British Armorial Bindings database at the University of Toronto).

Item #122855

Price (AUD): $2,500.00

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