DIDEROT, Denis (1713-1784) and Jean le Rond d'ALEMBERT (1717-1783), editors. Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des science, 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 Falche, 1765 - Recueil de planches, sur les sciences, les art 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 arts méchaniques, avec leur explication. Paris: Panckoucke, Stoupe, Brunet; Amsterdam: M.M. Rey, 1777. - Table analytique et raisonnée des metieres 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° (394 x 253mm). Collation and contents as in Lough and Schwab with these exceptions: Encyclopédie, tome premier, with article on Asple bound at end, lacking separately-issued frontispiece and explication; tome onzième, initial 'N' within geometric border differing from both the first and the Geneva editions. 2,796 engraved plates (2,581 in Planches, 215 in Suite de planches, many folding); 1 large folding engraved Tree of Knowledge plate in Table; 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. (Waterstaining affecting first fourteen and last two gatherings of volume IX.) Contemporary 18th-century French speckled calf, triple fillet in blind, spine in seven compartments, gilt in five, red and black morocco lettering-pieces in two, red sprinkled edges (upper cover and hinge of volume IX with some areas of loss and staining caused by water damage).
FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE MOST SPLENDID PRODUCTS OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT AND ONE OF THE GREAT LANDMARKS OF 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 classical example of how not to arrange a work of reference' (PMM). 'The greatest encyclopaedia of science, which had widespread effect in establishing uniformity of terminology, concept, and procedure 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, followed by Baron d'Holbach, who contributed about 400 articles. Among the other collaborators were Rousseau, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Buffon, Marmontel, Concorcet, Necker, and Turgot.
The first seven volumes of the Encyclopédie were published in Paris under a royal privilege. After this was withdrawn in 1759 printing continued clandestinely, and the last ten volumes were issued under the false imprint of Samuel Faulche, Neuchâtel. The plates, not being considered subversive, were published in Paris. Subsequently the work was reprinted, in whole or in part, in several editions that were designed to look like the original, even imitating the original imprints. There are, nevertheless, minor differences of setting and typography. The present set has all the points of the true first edition, as set forth by Schwab and Lough. The four volumes of the supplement were published in one edition only but in two issues, one with a Paris imprint, the other with an Amsterdam imprint; the supplemental volume of plates has the imprint Paris and Amsterdam.
Grolier/Horblit 25b; John Lough, Essays on the Encylcopédie of Diderot and D'Alembert, London 1968; PMM 200; 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]; Norman 637. (35)