Genève, (published by Paul Moultou and du Peyron), 1782-1789.
33 8vo volumes [201 x 122 mm] in fawn marbled calf, flat spines nicely and finely decorated with gilt flowered leaves, thick and thin fillets, some continuous and twisted, pink and green lettering pieces, blind stamped borders on the covers, gilt edges. Contemporary binding.
First collective edition of the Confessions by Rousseau, with in first edition the second part of the Confessions including books 7 to 12. Dufour n°393; Tchemerzine, V, 568 et 563.
The Confessions are included in the present complete edition of the Works by Jean-Jacques Rousseau printed between 1782 and 1789 and bound in 33 8vo volumes.
“This edition, Brunet says, has been made after the copy partly prepared by Jean-Jacques Rousseau himself and it presents in many works remarkable additions.”
“It is in this edition that was published the first part of the Confessions which has been published the same year in two separate volumes.” (Tchemerzine).
According to Gagnebin, the two 8vo volumes of the Confessions printed in large characters published separately in Geneva in 1782 would have been published a few weeks earlier.
“Les Confessions”, famous autobiography by Jean-Jacques Rousseau counts 12 books and has been published in 2 times: the first 6 books in 1782 and the last 6 ones are published here for the first time in the parts numbered 31 and 32.
Entirely sprung from Montaigne, the Rousseau of the “Confessions” is Chateaubriand’s father. We know his theory on the writing art. He doesn’t care about elegance: “I go further, he writes to Du Peyron, and I claim that sometimes one needs to make grammar mistakes to be bright. It is here and not in the pedantry of purism that lays the true art of writing.” The copy is true to the one of the Library of Geneva, labeled Hf 4350.
The first 30 volumes dated 1782; with the 2nd supplement, tomes XXXI-XXXIII, 3 volumes dated 1789. Here is the content: Part I, 1782, Politique (Du Peyrou’s dedication is dated 1779). Part II, 1782, Contrat social. Parts III-VI, 1782, Nouvelle Héloïse. Parts VII-X, 1782, Émile. (Parts III-X must have been published since 1780. The Journal helvétique of January 1781 announces them as dated 1780). Parts XI-XIV, 1782, Mélanges, in 4 volumes (part XI contains the Letter to Christophe de Beaumont, archbishop of Paris, and the letter to d’Alembert. Part XII contains the letter of la Montagne). Parts XV, XVI, 1782, Théâtre, Poésies, Musique. Parts XVII, XVIII, 1782, Dictionnaire de Musique. Parts XIX, XX, 1782, Confessions, 1st part, and Rêveries. Parts XXI, XXII, 1782, Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques. Part XXIII, 1782, Divers et Lettres. Part XXIV, 1782, Lettres. Parts XXV-XXX, which is a total of 6 volumes, 1782, Supplément (Divers. Lettres. Pièces et opuscules sur Rousseau). Tomes XXXI-XXXIII, 3 volumes, 1789, 2nd supplement containing (XXXI. XXXII) the 2nd part of the Confessions, and (XXXIII) of the Lettres.
In this copy Hf 4350, parts III-X don’t have the titles dated 1780; while parts XI-XVIII, beside the general title of the Works dated 1782, have a specific title for each volume, title dated 1781. In 1782, for the copies still unsold of the parts III-X, new titles have been printed dated 1782 and the former titles removed.
Exceptional copy in a condition of preservation and freshness absolutely extraordinary. All the volumes contain their book-markers scalloped with blue silk in perfect condition. The edges have preserved the gloss of the contemporary varnish. The very harmonious binding, with gilt decoration and magnificently executed is in rutilant freshness.
Copy preserved through the ages in a manor, unrestored, in its original state of publication. Remarkable specimen of binding of the 18th century, testifying of the perfect command of French artisan binder at the end of the Ancien Régime.