DIDEROT, Denis (1713-1784) and Jean le Rond d'ALEMBERT (1717-1783), editors. Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, par une société de gens de lettres. [I-VII] Paris: Briasson, David l'aîné, Le Breton, Durand, 1751 -1757; [VIII-XVII] Neuchâtel: Samuel Faulche, 1765. -- Recueil de planches, sur les sciences, les arts libéraux, et les arts méchaniques, avec leur explication. [I-XI] Paris: Briasson, David, Le Breton, Durand, 1762-1772. -- Supplement à l'Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, par une société de gens de lettres. Edited by Jean Baptiste René Robinet (1735-1820). [I-IV] Amsterdam: M.M. Rey, 1776-1777. -- Suite du recueil de planches, sur les sciences, les arts libéraux, et les art méchaniques, avec leur explication. Paris: Panckoucke, Stoupe, Brunet; Amsterdam: M.M. Rey, 1777. -- Table analytique et raisonnée des matieres contenues dans les XXXIII volumes in-folio du Dictionnaire des sciences, des arts et des métiers, et dans son supplément. Edited by Pierre Mouchon (1733-1797). [I-II] Paris: Panckoucke; Amsterdam: Marc-Michel Rey, 1780.
35 volumes, 2° (393 x 255 mm). Collation and contents as in Lough and Schwab with these exceptions: Dictionnaire, livraison 1 is a reprint, finished early 1752, with these characteristics: M2 lacks the asterisk indicating that it is a cancel, Ss1-2 without the long "s", Tttt2 lacking one lower case "t" and most pagination errors; a few minor variations in binding. Engraved title-page by B.L. Prévost after C.N. Cochin; 2,795 engraved plates (2,580 in Planches, 215 in Suite des planches, many folding); 1 large folding engraved “Tree of Knowledge” plate in Table, vol. 1; several inserted folding typographical tables as noted by Schwab. A complete set: the numbers of plates given on the title-pages total 3,129 because double, triple or quadruple folding plates are counted as 2, 3 or 4. (Lacking blanks called for by Schwab and Lough, Planches vol.VII lacking “Avis Aux Relieurs…” leaf, Planches vols. IX and X with a few leaves with mostly marginal worming occasionally touching the plate, a few leaves with light spotting or browning, a few leaves with light marginal stains, a few leaves with short marginal tears, affecting text on approximately 3 leaves.) Contemporary French cats-paw calf, spines in 7 compartments 6 raised bands, red morocco lettering-pieces in two, the rest with floral gilt tooling (a few discreet minor repairs to spine ends, joints or corners, a few minor scuffs).
FIRST EDITION of one of the landmarks of Western intellectual history. Only the first two volumes are of a later issue, necessitated by the decision early in its publication history to increase the run. "A monument in the history of European thought; the acme of the age of reason; a prime motive force in undermining the Ancien régime and in heralding the French Revolution, a permanent source for all aspects of eighteenth-century civilization -- and a classic example of how not to arrange a work of reference" (PMM). With over 71,818 entries, the majority of which were written by the editors Diderot and d'Alembert and Baron d'Holbach, the Encyclopédie was one of the most ambitious intellectual undertakings of the Enlightenment. Great figures were drawn to the possibilities of such a project, and included Rousseau, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Buffon, Marmontel, Condorcet, Necker and Turgot.
With plates as described in Schwab and Lough. Grolier/Horblit 25b; John Lough, Essays on the Encyclopédie of Diderot and D'Alembert, London, 1968; PMM 200; Norman 637; Richard N. Schwab, W.E. Rex and J. Lough, Inventory of Diderot's Encyclopédie, I (1971), VII (1984) [Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 80, 223]. A FINE SET.