The Great Illusion (Signed copy)
Signed by Norman Angell. the 1910 first edition
First edition, first printing. Hardback, bound in the original green cloth with printed titling in black to the spine and upper board. 19.5 × 12.5cm, xvi + 315pp.
This copy has been signed by Norman Angell directly to the ffep, where a small newspaper clipping has also been tipped in.
Norman Angell's best known and most enduring work. The text was first published in pamphlet form under the title Europe's Optical Illusion in 1909, and the first edition in book form was published in 1910. In this book, Angell's primary thesis was that war in Europe would have such disastrous consequences that no-one would gain anything by starting one, arguing that war was economically and socially irrational and that economic interdependence was the real guarantor of good behaviour between states.
Angell said that the arms race, as was being seen between England and Germany with their Navies, that was happening as he wrote the book in the 1900s, was not going to secure peace. Instead, it would lead to increased insecurity and thus increase the likelihood of war. The only viable route to peace would be respect for international law, implemented in a world court, in which issues would be dealt with rationally and peacefully.
The book was incredibly popular and lent it names to Jean Renoir's anti-war film of 1937 (Le Grande Illusion). The book was re-issued and enlarged in 1933, the year Angell was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
This copy is in good condition for age. There is bumping and rubbing to the boards edges and the spine ends. The inner binding is secure but the pages age-toned. A previous owner has written a very neat quotation from Cornelius Agrippa to the back of the title page and considerable but inoffensive pencil annotations and underling throughout the book. However, it remains in strong readable condition and is a very scarce Angell title to find signed.