Le Siècle de Louis XIV. by VOLTAIRE, François Marie Arouet…

VOLTAIRE, François Marie Arouet de (1694-1778).

Le Siècle de Louis XIV. Publié par M. de Francheville conseiller aulique de sa Majesté, & membre de l’acadénie roiale des sciences & belles lettres de prusse. Tome Premier [-Second]. Berlin, Henning, 1751.

First Edition. Two volumes in one, 12mo, (144 x 85mm), pp. [xiv], 488, [1] errata; [ii], 466, [2], errata, with the half-title to the first volume, in contemporary calf, rather worn, spine gilt in compartments, foot of spine chipped, wormhole to the head of spine, wanting the front endpaper, red edges.

The first edition of Voltaire's brilliant historical study of the age of King Louis XIV. Begun as early as 1732, Voltaire sent a manuscript version to Frederic II who was enthusiastic and encouraged its publication. In 1739 Voltaire published a ‘Plan Raisonné’ of the project, including two finished chapters, but this was condemned by the court and seized. In 1750 Voltaire left France for Frederic’s court at Berlin, where he set himself to complete the work. Failing to obtain the ‘privilège royal’ or even the non-written ‘permission tacite’, he decided to go ahead and publish the work in Berlin at his own expence. Voltaire continued to add to the work in subsequent editions, most notably in the 1753 Berlin edition, where he added a supplement in which he refuted the attacks made by La Beaumelle.

BN Voltaire Catalogue 3361-3363.

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