[BARTHELEMY, Jean Jacques].
Journey of the young Anacharsis in Greece, in the middle of the fourth century before the vulgar era. Paris, De Bure l'aîné, 1788.
5 volumes in-4 (285 x 212 mm) including an atlas, of VII pp., 5 ff.n.ch., 555 pp. badly figured 553 without missing and (1) f. d'errata for volume I; 3 ff.n.ch., 646 pp. and 1 f.n.c. of errata for volume II; 3 f.n.c., 599 pp. and 1 f.n.c. of errata for volume III; 3 f.n.c., 383 pp.., CLXXXIV pp. and 2 ff.n.ch. for volume IV; XLII pp. badly numbered XLI without missing, 25 maps and plans, 6 plates for the atlas; red morocco, spine with ornamented ribs, triple golden filet of framing, roulette on the cups, interior lace, golden edges (bound by Bradel the elder, successor [sic] of Sr. Derome the younger, his uncle).
Original quarto-format edition of one of the most important best-sellers in the history of publishing.
Printed on large paper (a smaller edition appeared the same year).
This imaginary journey of a young Scythian in Greece in the 4th century BC made generations of readers aware of Greek antiquity. Re-edited throughout the 19th century and translated many times, it made a decisive contribution to the rise of neoclassicism.
"Few books have appeared under less favourable circumstances and yet have been more successful. On the eve of the political upheavals that were about to occur, the public, although satiated with literature, hoped to find in this new history of Greece what was then sought everywhere... The number of editions multiplied non-stop for thirty years, and so did the number of readers, who thus became, from 1821 onwards, a veritable army of French philhellenes, and we know to what extent philhellenism was helped by the French literary movement...
It is therefore necessary to have this Voyage in a romantic collection, and while we are at it, it is better to have it in a satisfactory state" (Maurice Escoffier).
"It is difficult to overestimate the importance of Anacharsis in the development of French neoclassicism and in the creation of philhellenic sentiment. Though there had been earlier attempts to popularize and disseminate what was known of Greek antiquity, none had been as influential and successful in 'educating Europe to an appreciation of the life and sensibility' of the ancient Greeks' (Spencer). Barthélemy was keeper of the French national numismatic collections.
He worked for thirty years on his masterpiece, which achieved an immediate and international success" (Blackmer).
The atlas is decorated with 6 plates and 25 engraved double-page maps.
Precious copy on large paper, in morocco decorated with time signed by Bradel, with its label. Minute scratches.
Provenance: Jean-Paul Morin (ex-libris, sale 4 November 2011, lot 89).
Rahir, Bibliothèque de l'amateur, 309; Escoffier, Le Mouvement romantique, nº 99: for the 1799 reprint; Blackmer, nº 83.
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