17 June 2008
CHAMPOLLION, Jean-François (1792-1832). Lettre à M. Dacier ... relative a l'alphabet des Hiéroglyphes Phonétiques. Paris: Firmin Didot Père et Fils, 1822.
8o (229 x 143 mm). Half-title. 4 folding lithographic plates after Champollion (plate IV with small repair to gutter). (Some spotting.) Contemporary quarter scarlet quarter morocco, diced paper boards, gilt.
"THE TURNING POINT IN THE DECIPHERMENT OF THE HEIROGLYPHS" (Blackmer)
FIRST EDITION OF CHAMPOLLION'S FIRST EXPOSITION OF HIS METHOD FOR DECIPHERING EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHS, in which he announces his assignment of phonetic values to 12 heiroglyphs and his tentative association of 40 heiroglyphic signs with the phonetic sounds of 17 Greek letters. The four folding plates, signed in print by Champollion in hieroglyphs, consist of hieroglyphic cartouches and demotic inscriptions, and a table of symbols which Champollion had identified as phonetic. From these initial researches Champollion was able to progress to a more comprehensive decipherment, thus making the texts of ancient Egypt, including the Rosetta Stone on which he worked from 1822-24, accessible to his contemporaries and founding modern Egyptology. RARE: only two copies have appeared at auction in the last thirty years. Blackmer 306; Brunet III, De Ricci "Essai de bibliographie de Champollion le jeune" 23; En frangais dans le texte 234.
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