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MARMONTEL, Jean François (1723--1799)
[Bélisaire. 1767 (Paris)]
Belisaire. Par M. Marmontel, ...
A Paris chez Merlin, libraire, 1767.
[4], x, 340, [4] p., engr. frontis., [3] pl. ; 19.3 cm. (8º)

The first edition of Marmontel's influential historical romance, a re-telling of the story of the Byzantine general Belisarius. This novel was designed to persuade Louis XV to become the longed-for Philosopher-King. Chapter 15, which advocates freedom of opinion and religious tolerance, caused a furore involving the philosophes and the religious establishment, and ultimately helped the cause of Huguenot emancipation in 1787. Apparently a re-imposition in 8º of the 12º edition, on finer, heavier paper, with an additional plate facing p. 69, and the frontispiece and plates facing pp. 57 and 255 reworked, the latter by different engravers. Title-page quotation reads 'siquandò' instead of 'si quandò'. Different rule at top of p. 211. Fleuron inverted on p. 324. With 'Fragmens De Philosophie Morale', having separate half-title but continuous pagination and register, pp. [273]--340. Printer's imprint at foot of p. 340: De l'imprimerie de P. Alex. Le Prieur, imprimeur du Roi.

Copy Notes Bound with Pièces relatives à Bélisaire, Amsterdam, 1767 (q.v.). Bought from Joseph Bell, receipted by G. Robson for 9s., invoiced 10 September 1801 (paid 19 February 1802). (Archives 7/2/23). Inscribed in ink on half-title John Soane 1801.

Binding C18th mottled calf, 'catspaw' stained covers, thin-thick-thin gilt-ruled borders, gilt-panelled spine, brown morocco spine-label, marbled edges and endpapers.

Reference Number 423


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