Lot 147

[VOLTAIRE (François-Marie Arouet de)]. The Century of Louis XIV. Published by M. de Francheville (...). Berlin, Henning, 1751.
2 volumes in one vol. in-12 of [12]-488-[1] pp. ; [1]-466-[2] pp. Brown calf, spine ribbed and richly decorated, p. de titre et de tomaison, tr. marbled (contemporary binding).
Very rare and sought-after first edition of one of Voltaire's masterpieces, all the more rare in bookbinding of the period.
"Dufresne de Francheville, a Frenchman whom Frédéric had called to Berlin around 1742, was responsible for giving his care to this first edition of Louis XIV's Siècle, and it is his name that appears on the frontispieces of the two volumes published in 1751. One knows enough in Europe that I am the author,' wrote Voltaire to Walther, on December 28, 1751, 'but I do not want to expose myself to what can be unpleasant in France, when one tells the truth. The same letter to Walther tells us that the 1751 edition was printed in three thousand copies, and that it cost Voltaire, with the secretary and Mr de Francheville, who had to pay, about two thousand écus. (...) The edition of 1751 has two particularities which it is important to point out:
I° There is not a single capital letter in the whole work, except at the head of the paragraphs (...) 2° This is the first book printed entirely with Voltaire's spelling. The a's replace the o's, not only in the imperfect, but also in the weak word (t. I, p. 145)". (Bengesco).
Very good copy. (Bengesco, I, 1178.)

Location of the item
France - 75009 - paris