Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2014 Issue

Sections from Diderot's Encyclopédie from Sotheran's

Sections from Diderot's Encyclopédie.

“The goal of an Encyclopédie is to assemble all the knowledge scattered on the surface of the earth, to demonstrate the general system to the people with whom we live, & to transmit it to the people who will come after us, so that the works of centuries past is not useless to the centuries which follow, that our descendants, by becoming more learned, may become more virtuous and happier, & that we do not die without having merited being part of the human race.”

 

Lofty goals. Actually, the Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot (and for part of its run co-edited by Jean d'Alembert) accomplished much more. While no one could quite assemble all of the knowledge in the world, the Encyclopédie contained 28 volumes with 71,818 articles and 3,129 illustrations. This does not include the later supplement, just the main volumes completed from 1751-1772. Among the achievements of Diderot was interviewing all sorts of businesses and manufacturing facilities to understand how they were run. Still, when we say the Encyclopédie achieved even more than its lofty goal, we refer to its roll in the Enlightenment in France, which would soon enough lead to a Revolution toward a more democratic and fair society (unfortunately, things did not turn out quite so well until a long time after the Revolution came). It changed the way people thought about their institutions, knowledge bringing light. The writers guided their readers toward higher ideals, and this may be the most important achievement of this massive document.

 

A complete set of the Encyclopédie is likely out of reach of most readers, running into six figures in American dollars. However, Sotheran's has obtained an incomplete set, deaccessioned from a library as a duplicate, which they are offering in sections. The sections include illustrations and text, which are suitable for framing for those who wish to display a portion of this influential work. They have issued a catalogue – Diderot & D'Alembert Encyclopédie. A fine collection of plates and descriptive text. It offers 175 sections from this set. You can choose those that are of particular interest for your own collection or for display at a far more modest cost than the entire set. Here are a few samples of sections that are available.

 

Item 1. Hatching chickens. Detailed information about incubators and hatching eggs, including a description of methods and equipment used by early Egyptians. Includes three plates of diagrams along with the text. Priced at £298 (British pounds, or roughly $488 U.S. dollars).

 

Item 10. Anatomy. There are 33 plates along with text on the human anatomy. Plates display many body parts, covering circulatory, digestive, muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, and skeletal systems. There are also detailed diagrams of the vocal cords, ears, and brain. Sotheran's notes, “the suite serves as a useful and fascinating insight into the eighteenth-century understanding of the human anatomy.” £2,750 (US $4,505).

 

Item 29. Bakery. This section describes the art of the baker and the utensils and ovens used. One plate is provided which shows bakers at work plus separate images of ovens and utensils. The main article was written by Diderot but there are also separate articles, including one on ovens by an Italian nobleman. £98 (US $160).

Rare Book Monthly

  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
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    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
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    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
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    Auction May 27th
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    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
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    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
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    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000
  • ALDE, May 28: KIPLING (RUDYARD). Le Livre de la Jungle. – Le IIe livre de la Jungle. Paris, Sagittaire, Simon Kra, 1924-1925. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: NOAILLES (ANNA DE). Les Climats. Paris, Société du Livre contemporain, 1924. €50,000 to €60,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MILTON (JOHN). Paradis perdu. Quatrième chant. S.l., Les Bibliophiles de l'Automobile-Club de France, 1974. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LEBEDEV (VLADIMIR). Russian Placards - Placard Russe 1917-1922. Saint-Petersbourg, Sterletz, 1923. €1,000 to €1,200.
    ALDE, May 28: MARDRUS (JOSEPH-CHARLES). Histoire charmante de l'adolescente sucre d'amour. Paris, F.-L. Schmied, 1927. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: TABLEAUX DE PARIS. Paris, Émile-Paul Frères, 1927. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LA FONTAINE (JEAN DE). Les Fables illustrées par Paul Jouve. S.l. [Lausanne], Gonin & Cie, 1929. €4,000 to €5,000.
    ALDE, May 28: SARTRE (JEAN-PAUL). Vingt-deux dessins sur le thème du désir. Paris, Fernand Mourlot, 1961. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: [BRAQUE (GEORGES)]. 13 mai 1962. Alès, PAB, 1962. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MIRÓ (JOAN). Je travaille comme un jardinier. Avant-propos d'Yvon Taillandier. Paris, Société intenationale d'art XXe siècle, 1963. €1,000 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MAGNAN (JEAN-MARIE). Taureaux. Paris, Michèle Trinckvel, 1965. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: PICASSO (PABLO). Dans l'atelier de Picasso. 1960. €15,000 to €20,000.
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    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
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  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.

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