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LETTRES PHILOSOPHIQUES ...
[Lettre philosophique. 1777]
Lettres philosophiques, par M. de V***. Avec plusieurs pieces galantes et nouvelles de différens auteurs critiques et satyriques. Suivi de l'Ode à Priape, de l'Epítre à Uranie, du Chapitre des cordeliers, &c. Augmentées de la Comédie galante de M. de Bussi, &c.
A Londres 1777.
[2], 5--184 p. ; 19.8 cm. (8º)

Anonymous. Despite the obvious identification of 'M. de V***' with Voltaire, only a few of the pieces in this assembly of texts, mostly miscellaneous and frequently erotic verses connected only by their all no doubt having been published clandestinely, are by Voltaire, most notably the deistic 'Építre à Uranie' which was first published in 1726. The 'Ode à Priape' is by Alexis Piron, to whom the 'Chapitre Général des Cordeliers' is also attributed (the erotic content of the first is supposed to have prevented him from becoming a member of the Académie française). 'La Comtesse d'Olonne, Comedie-Galante' (with special title-page but continuous pagination and register) is attributed to the Comte Roger de Bussy-Rabutin, famous for his account of court life early in the reign of Louis XIV and banishment for licentiousness. The collection seems first to have been published under the title Lettres de M. de V*** avec plusieurs pièces de différens auteurs with the imprint of Poppy, La Haye, 1738 but possibly printed in Rouen (see A.A. Barbier, Dictionnaire des ouvrages anonymes v.2, 1256 where the date is given as 1739). The first item, 'Lettre sur l'âme', was there numbered as 'XXVIe Lettre ...' continuing the numbering of Voltaire's celebrated and influential Lettres philosophiques, which had first been published in London in 1733 as Letters concerning the English nation and was translated into French with several editions appearing in 1734. Although the work originally comprised 24 letters, some French editions of 1734 numbered 25 letters with the inclusion of a final letter on Pascal. Three 'London' editions of the present collection are recorded in ESTC in 1757, 1775, and 1776, and the Bibliothèque nationale records a later edition 'A Londres: P. de Hond, 1784' having 168 pages. The present edition is not in ESTC.

Copy Notes Wanting a half-title? Some MS. annotations in pencil throughout in Soane's hand, giving vocabulary notes in English.

Binding C18th tree sheep, gilt-ruled spine, red morocco spine-label.

Reference Number 3713


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