15 July 2005
THE PROPERTY OF A NOBLEMAN
JOSEPH DE GUIGNES (1721-1800)
Histoire Générale des Huns, des Turcs, des Mogols et des Autres Tartares Occidentaux, &c. avant et depuis Jesus-Christ jusqu'a present. Paris: Desaint & Saillant, 1756-58. 5 volumes, 4° (252 x 190mm). Engraved headpieces and culs-de-lampe. Contemporary calf, sides blind-ruled, spines gilt with contrasting brown morocco double labels, edges red (light rubbing, a few small chips at spine caps).
FIRST EDITION, A FINE SET of 'the most important account of the people of Asia published to that time' (Atabey). Guignes used Chinese sources for his history of the western Asian peoples, but he also had knowledge of Arabic, Syriac, and other Eastern Languages. Gibbon, who relied on Guignes, called him 'a skilful and laborious interpreter of the Chinese language, who has thus laid open new and important scenes in the history of mankind' (History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol.1, ch.26, n.10). The Nouvelle Biographie Générale describes Guignes' Histoire as: 'extrêmement remarkable et de la plus haute importance'. Atabey 535; Brunet II, 567-68; Cordier, Sinica II, 2767.
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