Le grand dictionnaire historique, ou le mélange curieux de l'histoire sainte et profane.
Lyon: Jean Girin & Barthelemy Rivière, 1674.
1st Edition. Hardcover. Folio - over 12 - 15" tall. Very Good. Item #003807
Folio (355 x 228 mm). , 1346 pp., including half title, engraved frontispiece by G. Audran. Some mispaginations. Title printed in red and black, woodcut initials and headpieces. Contemporary French calf, spine with 6 raised bands, gilt lettering in second compartment and rich gilt tooling to the other compartments, red-sprinkled edges, original endpapers (joints, spine ends and corners repaired, extremities rubbed and scratched). Text with light foxing and browning throughout, occasional minor spotting and soiling, clean tear inside text area of leaf L6 without loss, a few torn lower corners not affecting text, light dampstain to upper corner of gatherings at beginning and end, small wormtrack to lower blank margin of few leaves. Provenance: Francois and Jacques Dorion (inscriptions on first flyleaf, also dated 1695), old ownership inscription on title-page (pasted over with paper strips). In all a very good copy, collated and complete. ----
RARE FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST MODERN ENCYCLOPEDIA. Moreri's work is ranked, along with Bayle's Dictionnaire Historique et Critique, as one of the first vernacular encyclopedias "to make an impact on the European world of letters" (PMM).
"The first Vernacular encyclopaedias [. . .] were two French Works, bringing into focus, as it were, the intellectual preponderance of the age of the Roi Soleil as well as its antithetical aspects of nominal devotion to the Roman Catholic Church and sceptical questioning of the very foundations of revealed religion. The Abbe Moreri deliberately designed his book as an apologia and defence of his church. It is also noteworthy for its emphasis on historical and biographical entries which for a long time were neglected by other compilers such as Bayle, Harris, and Chambers. Moreri's 'Great Historical Encyclopaedia' had by 1759 gone through twenty editions before it was ousted by the Encyclopedie [Diderot, 1751-65] a useful reminder of the strength of the traditional, anti-rationalist forces in the 'age of reason'" (PMM).
The first edition of this work is of surprising rarity with only three copies listed in KVK and OCLC/Worldcat (Zurich, BM Lyon and Paris BnF), no copy in public libraries in the USA. RareBookHub lists a single copy at auction only, sold at Bassenge in 2012.
References: PMM 155a; Brunet III, 1901; Zischka 7. - Visit our website to see more images!
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