This is a complete set of eight volumes of Voltaire's 'Dictionnaire Philosophique'.
The Philosophical Dictionary is an encyclopedic dictionary published by Voltaire in 1764. It is written as a series of short essays, hortatory and propagandist, over an enormously wide range of subjects. The Dictionnaire was a lifelong project for Voltaire. It represents the culmination of his views on Christianity, God, morality and other subjects.
It was deliberately planned as a revolutionary book and was duly denounced on all sides and described as 'a deplorable monument of the extent to which intelligence and erudition can be abused'. The subjects treated include Abraham, Angel and Anthropophages (cannibals); Baptism, Beauty and Beasts; Fables, Fraud and Fanaticism; Metempsychosis, Miracles and Moses; all of them exposed to Voltaire's lucid scrutiny, his elegant irony and his passionate love of reason and justice.
These eight books come from the 'Oeuvres Completes de Voltaire', published in 1825.
Voltaire's complete works or "Oeuvres Completes" consisted of 100 volumes. This listing is for the eight consecutive volumes that form the complete Philosophical Dictionary, all in French text, and dated M DCCC XXV (1825.)
Almost 200 years old these books are very rare and collectible, they have leather spines and marbleised cardboard covers. The patina on these books is amazing.
They are 'aged to perfection' and will give you an instant 'old library' effect and add an extra 'French chic' to your collection!
The books are in genuine antique condition, as you can see from the photos, the spines are delicate and have sustained some damage. The pages have 'age spots' and edge discoloration which adds to their charm and authenticity. I've left them exactly as I found them because they're authentic.
They need to be handled with respect for their age and condition. The first book has a damaged cover, with a corner missing, but this does not effect the integrity of the book at all.
Most importantly they have that 'old book smell' reminiscent of libraries and bookshops from a by-gone era - fabulously comforting.
The books are all completely readable.
The volumes are as follows:
Volume 51 - Tome I: This volume starts at 'A', 'ABC ou Alphabet' and runs to 'Apocalypse'.
Volume 52 - Tome II: 'Apocryphes' to 'Blasphème'. Taking in subjects like Astology and Astronomy, and Baptism.
Volume 53 - Tome III: Starts with 'Blé' and ends with 'Dénombrement'. It covers subjects such as Climate, Conscience, Consequence and Dante!
Volume 54 - Tome IV: 'Destin' to 'Etats Généraux'. This volume has Voltaire's thoughts on subjects such as God (Dieu), Divorce, Education, Envy and Enthusiasm to name but a few!
Volume 55 - Tome V: 'Eternité' to 'Hipatie'. There is a big entry on government in this volume, alongside the Fin du Monde (end of the world) and 'Fêtes'!
Volume 56 - Tome VI: 'Histoire' to 'Maladie', taking in writings on Languages, Letters and the Law.
Volume 57 - Tome VII: 'Mariage' to 'Quisquis (du) De Ramus ou La Ramée.' This volume contains Politics, Noel (Christmas), Plato, Quakers and many more!
Volume 58 - Tome VIII: This is the last volume of Voltaire's dictionary, from 'Raison' to 'Zoroastre'. My favourite entry here is 'Vampires'. It covers many other subjects such as Tax, Tolerance, Vision, Serpents and Resurrection!
If you choose to stand them up (like a normal library shelf) then you need a space 21cms/ 8¼" high x 25cms/ 9 ¾" long and 13cms/ 5" deep.
They weigh 4.7 kgs/ 10.3 lbs altogether.
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