Paris: De l'Imprimerie de Monsieur, chez Didot le jeune/ Néé de la Rochelle/ De Senne, 1792.
4th Edition. Hardcover. Very Good. Item #002713
1790-1792. 12mo (165 x 98 mm). Fourth edition of vols. I to IV dated 1791 (vol. I-III) and 1790 (vol. IV); first edition of vol. V, dated 1792. Vol. I: , xxxvi, 648 pp., frontispiece portrait by Moreau le jeune and 1 folding engraved word map; Vol. II: , 625 (i.e. 652) pp. and 3 folding engraved plates; Vol. III: , 596 pp.; Vol. IV: , lxxxviii, 532,  pp. including approbation and privilege leaf; Vol. V: , xxxiv, 411 , lvi, 72,  pp. inluding content leaf at end. Half-titles present in all volumes. Uniformly bound in fine contemporary mottled calf, plain spines each with two gilt-lettered morocco labels and some gilt decoration, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers (lower hinge of vol. V cracked but firmly holding, light chipping to spine ends, lower corners little scuffed). Internally little browned only, occasional minor spotting, a few marginal paper flaws, a few short closed tears. Provenance: Inscribed by the author on half-title of first volume "données à Monsieur du Déschaux par son ami De Saint-Pierre à Paris ce 22 juillet 1792 rue de la Reine Blanche"*; Octave Borelli, Marseille (armorial bookplate to front pasterdowns). A fine, unmarked and wide-margined set. ----
RARE DEDICATION COPY, inscribed and signed by the author, of the corrected and enlarged 4th edition of volumes 1 to 4, and first edition of volume 5, of the Etude de la Nature. Despite the rather 'scientific' title, this work is less an exact description of the nature than an apologia of philosophical optimism. De Saint-Pierre (1737-1814) is best known for his 1787 novel Paul et Virginie. He was elected to the Institut de France in 1795, and in 1803 to the Academie Francaise. The friendship with Jean-Jacques Rousseau did much to mold the views expressed in his Etudes de la nature. To the third edition 1788, he appended Paul et Virginie. De Saint-Pierre was one of the first to celebrate cultural primitivism, which became one of the central ideas of the Romantic movement.
*In fact, it was house no. 16 of Rue de la Reine Blanche where Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre lived when he wrote his famous novel Paul et Virginie in 1786 and La Chaumière indienne in 1790. It was still his home at the time he was appointed intendant of the Jardin des Plantes de Paris from 1792 to 1793.
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