FONTENELLE. Œuvres diverses de M. de Fontenelle, de l’Académie françoise.

Price : 15.000,00 

First collective edition of Fontenelle's Works and one of the most precious copies recorded - one of the few 4to copies printed on large Holland paper - covered with luxurious period blue morocco bindings for President Lamoignon (1735-1789), King Louis XVI's Keeper of the Seals

Fontenelle deserves to be regarded by posterity as one of the greatest philosophers of the Earth, and, in spite of their defects, the majority of his works should never perish… It is to him, in great part, that we owe this philosophical spirit which makes despise declamations and authorities to discuss the truth with authority ” Vauvenargues.

1 in stock

SKU: LCS-18298 Category:

La Haye, chez Gosse et Neaulme, 1728-1729.

3 volumes 4to.
Volume I : (5) ll. 376 pp. plus 4 figures.
Volume II : (4) ll. 440 pp. plus 1 figure.
Volume III : (3) ll. 434 pp. plus 1 figure.

Full midnight blue morocco, thick and thin fillets around the covers, very finely decorated flat spines with three panels bearing the author, the volume and the titles in red morocco, inner gilt border, gilt edges. Contemporary binding made for President Lamoignon.

290 x 215 mm.

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The first collective edition of the works of Fontenelle, one of the pioneers of the Age of Enlightenment.

It contains the works that made fontenelle famous: Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes, Dialogue des morts, Histoire de l’Académie Royale des sciences… Subjugated by this last text, Voltaire expressed his admiration thus:

Of a new universe, he opened the barrier,

Of infinities without number around him growing,

Measured by his hands to his incipient order,

To our astonished eyes he opened the career

The ignorant heard him, the learned admired him.

Another admirer of Fontenelle, Grimm affirmed in his correspondence that “the philosophical spirit, today so generally spread, owes its first progress to Fontenelle.”

“Superb illustrations” (Cohen).

The work is illustrated with 6 frontispieces or figures by Bernard Picard, 1 of which includes a portrait of Fontenelle, 2 typographical ornaments on the titles and 174 vignettes and tail-pieces.

This illustration, qualified as superb by Cohen (Guide de l’amateur de livres à gravures du XVIIIe siècle, col. 407-408), combines in its compositions purely decorative motives with scientific representations as attested by the engraving of l’Entretien sur la pluralité des mondes.

The edition was printed in both 4to and folio formats, and there were a few rare copies on large paper in both editions.

“Fontenelle welcomed in him all the knowledge, all the influences; he simply let in all serenity, each assertion weigh in his mind its right weight; he appeared to his contemporaries as an enigma, because he transformed them, without them being able to account for this strange and quite interior force which leaves the face and the eyes motionless: the calm smile of the reason.” Jean-Raoul Carré.

A precious and remarkable copy – one of the rare copies of the 4to issue printed on large Holland paper covered with superb early period bindings in blue morocco for president Lamoignon (1735-1789), keeper of the seals of King Louis XVI. The last copy on large paper, without provenance, was sold for 35 000 € in December 2004, 19 years ago.

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