MALTHUS, Thomas Robert. Opyt o zakonie narodonaseleniia. [An Essay on the Principle of Population]. St Petersburg: E. E. Glazunov, 1868.
Of Malthus’s Essay on the Principle of Population , a key work in the history of economic thought. The translator, P. A. Bibikov, had acquired fundamental experience in rendering works of economics when translating Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations two years previously. Malthus spent some time in Russia, and his Essay (first published in 1798) had attracted attention there since before 1820. In 1826 he was elected a foreign fellow of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, and, in 1830, he was awarded an honorary professorship at the Imperial St. Petersburg. However only in the 1860s, with key economic reforms under way, was his work fully appreciated. “It challenged the conventional notion that population growth is an unmixed blessing. It discussed prostitution, contraception, and other sexual matters. And it gave vivid descriptions of the horrendous consequences of overpopulation and of the brutal means by which populations are checked" (ODNB). Malthus captured the problem with a memorable quantification: “population when allowed to increase without limit, increases in a geometrical ratio, while the food supply can at best increase at an arithmetical ratio, so, whatever the plausible rate of increase of the food supply, an unchecked multiplication of human beings must quickly lead to standing-room only” (Blaug, Great Economists before Keynes , p. 141). ABPC/RBH show no records at auction. 2 volumes, octavo (220 x 144mm). Uncut and largely unopened in the original green printed wrappers to vol. one, vol. two in a facsimile stiff paper wrapper, the original rear printed paper wrapper preserved, spine and covers printed in black (wrappers a little soiled, some wear to spine ends, front wrapper of vol. 1 separating from spine at foot), in a clam shell cloth box. Provenance : Prof. Katsenelenbaum of Moscow (inscription to titles and stamp to first leaf of text in each vol).