1730 Dictionaire Historique et Critique par Mr. Pierre Bayle. Complete in 4 volumes. 4th edition.


Imposing folio, complete in four volumes, 4th edition of Pierre Bayle's Dictionaire Historique et Critique, printed in 1730.

About the Work -

Pierre Bayle (1647–1706) was a Huguenot, i.e., a French Protestant, who spent almost the whole of his productive life as a refugee in Holland. His life was devoted entirely to scholarship, and his erudition was second to none in his, or perhaps any, period. Although much of what he wrote was embedded in technical religious issues, for a century he was one the most widely read philosophers. In particular, his Dictionnaire historique et critique was among the most popular works of the eighteenth century. The content of this huge and strange, yet fascinating work is difficult to describe: history, literary criticism, theology, obscenity, in addition to philosophical treatments of toleration, the problem of evil, epistemological questions, and much more. His influence on the Enlightenment was, whether intended or not, largely subversive. Said Voltaire: “the greatest master of the art of reasoning that ever wrote, Bayle, great and wise, all systems overthrows.” – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Bibliographic Details -

Worldcat OCLC catalogue number 6035623.

Engraved title page vignettes and head-piece; initials. Vignette has below "A vandr Werf pinxit; G. vandr Geuwen sculpsit."

Title page printed in red and black. Amsterdam bookseller in three lines, preceded by bracketed 'chez'

Edited by Prosper Marchand

"Avec privilege". Privilege on first leaf after title page signed by J.G.V. Boetzelaar and Willem Buys

Dedication on following two leaves to the Duc d'Orleans, Regent de France, signed by Michel Bohm

Each volume half-title page preceding main title page

Includes index

Physical Attributes -

Each vol. measures approx. 40 x 26 x 4.5 cm, folio. Leather bindings of the time. Spines with 6 raised bands; five compartments with central gilt medallion, two compartments with title, author and "Tom" with letters in gilt on red morocco. All edges red.

Tome premier. A-B

Tome second. C-I

Tome troisieme. K-P

Tome quatrieme. Q-Z

Condition -

See pictures. Well-worn bindings with corner wear, cracked joints, rubs, etc. Some spine compartment loose or flaps.

Ex-libris books; stamps on pastedowns, 1/2 title-pages, title pages, etc. "Valentine Museum Richmond Virginia".

Some toning, thumbing, foxing, dog-eared pages, occasional page-edge chip, etc. throughout. Half-title pages with Valentine personal signature 1881 and Alexander (?) Holladay Paris 1860. Some pages toned more than others. Some moisture intrusions from edges, mostly marginal but occasionally stretching into text; worst at start of V.1.

Occasional candle ember spot.

3rd volume title page quite toned. Crease at top corner of 1st 70 leaves of volume 4.

No annotations in text blocks.

Despite wear to bindings, holding together well (likely because of the large spine cords) and the pages are easy to turn through.

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