MILL, John Stuart. Autobiography. Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1873.
8vo. Original pebble-grained cloth, lettered in gilt on spine, boards ruled in black; pp. vi, 313, [2, advertisements]; previous owner's signature to initial blank; rear inner hinge a little weakened, lightly toned; a very good copy.
First edition, first issue (without errata). The autobiography of the great philosopher is perhaps most famous for its depiction of the astounding educational regime through which he was put by his father: 'it has excited universal astonishment… At the age of three the boy could read Greek; by the time he was eight he was reading Plato and Herodotus and an incredible quantity of historical writing; at twelve he has embarked on Aristotle's works on logic, Adam Smith and Ricardo' (PMM 345). Mill goes on to describe his almost inevitable mental collapse in 1826 and the importance of the experience to his philosophy. Rather than allowing himself to become the unemotional, remote intellectual of his father's design, he began to realise the significance of the individual and personal liberty. This act of autobiography is as much a way of the author realising himself as an individual as it is an adjunct to his great works On Liberty and On the Subjugation of Women.