The viaLibri website requires cookies to work properly. You can find more information in our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Recently found by viaLibri....

De l'esprit (On the Mind).
Durand, Paris 1758 - 1 blank leaf + half-title + TP + i-xxii + [1]-643 + [644] = Approbation and Privilege du Roi + 1 blank leaf. Quarto. The "B" Tirage of De l'esprit (see below).Smith E.1b. A Beautiful Copy of the "B Tirage" of Helvetius' De l'esprit, One of the Great Causes Célébres of the 18th Century - An Important Document for Understanding 18th Century French Censorship and Printing Practices and the Philosophical-Political Climate in 1758"The history of Helvétius's De l'esprit, his first major work, is eventful, complicated and paradoxical. No book during the eighteenth century, except perhaps Rousseau's Émile, evoked such an outcry from the religious and civil authorities or such universal public interest. Condemned as atheistic, materialistic, sacrilegious, immoral and subversive, it enjoyed a remarkable success de scandale. The work lost its privilege within a fortnight of its publication."The publication history is no less eventful and complicated. There are three distinct "first" editions of the book: called the "A", "B" and "C" tirages. After carefully orchestrating efforts to mislead and bully the censor into a hasty approval of the text, the "A" tirage, "the first impressions of the original edition, which had begun to leave the presses by the end of June, were kept by Helvétius for his personal friends. But, before the work could be put on sale to the general public, Malesherbes, directeur de la librarie, ordered that publication of the work be suspended indefinitely." The subversiveness of the book had been discovered and a new censor was introduced into the controversy and changes were made to the text. At this point, the "cunning" of Helvétius's publisher, Durand came into play. He "set up a completely new type, modeling it upon the original edition. This type - it can easily be recognized by its different type-setting and by its several new printing errors - was adapted to suit the second censor's requirements and was used to produce the second edition [the "B" tirage] Thus, when De l'esprit was officially published in Paris on July 27th, 1758, nobody suspected that it was, in fact, a completely new edition." However, Durand had secretly saved and hidden the original typeset forms.Everyone, including Helvétius, hoped that the submission to a second censor with the resulting changes and the granting of the new privilege would assure the book a safe passage but it was not to be. "Within ten days the Queen and the Dauphin complained about the book to the Chancelier while the Paris Parlement informed Malesherbes of its intention to examine the work [leading him to order] Durand to suspend the sale of De l'esprit immediately. He confiscated Durand's typeset, doubtless thinking it unique, whereas Durand had, it seems, hidden away the original typeset for just such an eventuality At least fourteen surreptitious editions appeared in 1758-59, some published semi-clandestinely by Durand, some elsewhere in France, some in Holland possibly by publishers under contract to Durand." "One of Durand's surreptitious editions [the "C" tirage] should strictly be called a re-issue of the original edition. Using the typeset which Malesherbes did not know he possessed, and setting up new type to replace the pages which Malesherbes had impounded in the first place, Durand secretly published a re-issue, the text of which was identical with the second edition. Helvétius may well have been a party to this edition since he sent at least one copy of it to a personal friend. Durand seems to have been successful in passing off his clandestine re-issue as the second edition, for there is no record of police measures against him." (all quotes are from Smith's article) a lovely and well-preserved contemporary full calf binding with boards that are just a bit scuffed. The spine with five raised bands and beautiful gilt lettering and devices. Expertly rehanged. With lovely marbled endpapers. Overall, a very beautiful copy of this book. PHOTOS AVAILABLE UPON R
      [Bookseller: Athena Rare Books ABAA]
Last Found On: 2013-12-26           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


Browse more rare books from the year 1758

      Home     Wants Manager     Library Search     563 Years   Links     Contact      Search Help      Terms of Service      Privacy     

Copyright © 2019 viaLibri™ Limited. All rights reserved.