Amsterdam [Paris], 1758.
2 parts in 1 volume 8vo of xxiv pp. (misnumbered xxix), 220, xii and 195 pp., (1) bl. p.
[Followed by in cohesive binding]: – Diderot, Denis. Le Fils naturel, ou Les Épreuves de la vertu. Comédie en cinq actes, et en prose, avec l’Histoire véritable de la Pièce.
Amsterdam [Paris], 1757.
8vo of ix, (1) and pp. 11-299.
La Défense of the play occupies the pp. 137 to 299.
3 parts in 2 volumes 12mo [180 x 115 mm], blond calf, triple gilt fillet around the covers, flat spines and decorated. Contemporary binding.
Rare gathering in first edition of Diderot’s work as a dramatic author bound in superb contemporary blond calf.
Tchemerzine II, 940-942.
Le Père de famille was inspired by Diderot’s love for his future wife, Mademoiselle Champion.
The main interest of this work is the presence of the “Discours sur la Poésie dramatique” which is published here for the first time and which delivers Diderot’s brilliant theories on theater.
These theories, Diderot exposed them in the Entretiens, published at the beginning of the Fils Naturel. He argues there, with much relevance to the nature of bourgeois drama or tearful comedy written in prose. He believes that between laughing comedy and crying tragedy there is room for a theater that would represent men in their ordinary state, neither as ridiculous, nor as tragic. He demands from the scene more truth, more continuity in the action. He also demands more naturalness in the scenic movement and declamation. Finally, he does not want more theatrics, but depictions linked if necessary by pantomimes; more characters, but with conditions: we will thus show not the ambitious, the devout nor the player but the father, the mother, the judge, the workman. Diderot will complete the presentation of his ideas in the Discours sur la poésie dramatique, adressed to Grimm.
Le Père de Famille et le Fils Naturel sont l’illustration des théories de l’auteur sur le théâtre ; ce drame de bourgeois, dont Diderot est l’inventeur et qui relève de la comédie larmoyante, vise à représenter les hommes dans leur état ordinaire et dans leurs sentiments normaux (il contient en germe, d’ailleurs, tout le théâtre d’Emile Augier).
Le Fils naturel was a true revolution during its first representation, the theater then entered a completey new era, not only from an aesthetic and literary point of view but from a political and social one.
Superb and precious copy gathering in first edition Diderot’s dramatic work bound with a very attractive blond calf due to the talent of a great Parisian master of the time.
It belongs to the amateur Pommereau who calligraphed on the titles two ex-libris dated 1773 and 1783.