Following my earlier comments about the availability of Latin philosophical texts, I found that a version of Wadding’s 1639 edition is available from a Tokyo bookseller.
Here is all you need to know about this edition. It was originally published in 1639. It was reprinted in 1895 by Vives (with minor changes). The Vives was reprinted by Gregg International in 1969, and that is the one for sale here. That’s right, $12,421.83 for a reprint of a reprint. How wrong. There are two values to a material book. One is the value of the knowledge contained in it, and that – in financial terms – should be free. That’s because, to employ a cliché, knowledge – or rather the means of acquiring it - should be free. The other value is the rarity or commodity value of the material book. I don’t mind paying for the latter – the most recent addition to my collection is a 1555 edition of the works of Horace, all of which are available in digital form off the net, but not in a beautiful way that you can look at and touch, and which I am willing to pay for. But paying a large sum for a recent reprint of no real material value, is absurd.
Oddly enough, the Heythrop actually does have the original Wadding 1639, which must be priceless. It is mouldering away in a basement, which flooded a few years ago, causing damage to not a few books. Parts of the Vatican edition are there, also in a bad state, with loose leaves all over the place. Ironically some parts have never been read, still in their uncut state. It is truly absurd that in the information age, this valuable commodity is still being held in material form that cannot be indexed, and which can be easily damaged, lost or stolen. But we have no better system, yet.