DIDEROT, Denis (1713-1784) and Jean le Rond d'ALEMBERT (1717-1783), editors. Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des art et des métiers, par une société de gens de lettres. [I-III and V-VII (lacking vol. IV)] Paris: Briasson, David l'aîné, le Breton, Durand, 1751-1757; [VIII-XVII] Neuchâtel: Samuel Faulche, 1765 -- Recueil de Plances, sur les sciences, les arts libéraux, et les arts méchaniques, avec leur explication. [I-XI] Paris: Briasson, David, Le Breton, Durand, 1762-1772. -- Nouveau Dictionnaire pour servir de 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 raisonné des maitres contenues dans les XXXIII volumes in-folio du Dictionnaire des sciences, des art et des métiers, et dans son supplément. Edited by Pierre Mouchon (1733-1797). [I-II] Paris: Pancoucke; Amsterdam: Marc-Michel Rey, 1780.
34 volumes [of 35], 2° (380 x 246mm). Collation and contents as in Lough and Schwab with these exceptions: Encyclopédie, tome premier, lacking frontispiece and explication; Encyclopédie, tome second, lacking article on Asple usually found at end; Encyclopédie, tome quartieme, lacking; a few variations in binding order not noted here. 2,689 engraved plates (2,475 in Planches, 214 in Suite de Planches, many folding), several letterpress titles, the number of plates given on the title pages for all 35 volumes total 3,129 because double, triple or quadruple folding plates are counted as 2, 3, or 4. (Occasional browning to text, a few small paper flaws to blank margins, one leaf with a clean tear accross plate.) Uniform in late 18th-century panelled calf, triple fillet in black, spine in seven compartments, gilt in five, lettered in two with red morocco spine labels, edges marbled (some hinges reinforced with cloth or leather, extremities rubbed, covers scuffed, some spine lables detached but five included with this lot in a separate envelope, restoration to the head and foot of some volumes).
FIRST EDITION of one of the most splendid products of the Enlightenment and one of the great landmarks in Western intellectual history. '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 civilisation - and a classic example of how not arrange a work of reference' (PMM). 'The greatest encyclopedia of science, which had widespread effect in establishing uniformity of terminology, concept, and proceedure in all fields of science and technology' (Grolier/Horblitt). The greater part of the 71,818 articles in the complete work were written by Diderot and D'Alembert, folowed by Baron d'Holbach, who contributed about 400 articles. Other contibutors included Rousseau, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Buffon, Marmontel, Concorcet, Necker, and Turgot.
The first seven volumes of the Encyclopédie were published in Paris under a royal privilege, but this was withdrawn in 1759. The last ten volumes were printed clandestinely under the false imprint of Simon Faulche, Neuchâtel. The Planches volumes were not considered subversive and were published in Paris. Later editions, including the so-called 'Geneva' and 'Riverside' editions, imitated the original with only minor differences in setting and typography. The present copy is the true first edition following the collation as set forth by Schwab and Lough. The Supplement was published in one edition but two issues, one with a Paris imprint and one with an Amsterdam imprint. The Suite de recueil de planches has the imprint Paris and Amsterdam.
The complete copy of the first edition from the Haskell F. Norman Library was sold, Christie's, New York, 15 June 1998, lot 416.
Grolier/Horblitt 25b; John Lough, Essays on the Encyclopédie of Diderot and D'Alembert, London, 1968; Carter/Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man, London and New York, 1967, 200; Richard N. Schwab, W.E. Rex, and J. Lough, Inventory of Diderot's Encyclopédie, I (1970), VII (1984) [Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 80, 223]; Norman 637. Sold not subject to return. (34)