Our Notes & References
Scarce first Russian edition of a major landmark of economic literature, the Essay on the Principle of Population, first published in English in 1798.
With much added material. The translator, P. A. Bibikov, was a historian, philosopher and literary critic, who had already translated Smith’s Wealth of Nations in 1866. With this background, he added a wealth of material to this edition, making it more than just a translation, but also an a posteriori analysis. Bibikov not only included Next to the 80 pages on Malthus’ life and works, Bibikov added in a rich appendix translations of foreign commentators, as well as his own footnotes relating to Russia. Very interestingly, he updated and commented the many pages Malthus had already devoted to the Russian case. The appendix includes texts by Townsend, Garnier, Chernyshevskiy and Prudhon, as well as a convenient 20-pp. alphabetical index.
“The central idea of the essay – and hub of the Malthusian theory – was a simple one… If the natural increase in population occurs the food supply becomes insufficient and the size of the population is checked by ‘misery’ – that is the poorest sections of the community suffer disease and famine. Malthus recognises two other possible checks to population expansion: first ‘vice’ – that is, homosexuality, prostitution, and abortion (all totally unacceptable to Malthus); and second ‘moral restraint’ – the voluntary limitation of the product of children by the postponement of marriage.” (PMM).
Unidentified symbolistic booklabel to upper endpapers; small Baltic bookseller’s stamps to lower endpapers.