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Lot n° 115

"Antoine Court de GEBELIN - Le monde primitif...

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"Antoine Court de GEBELIN - Le monde primitif analysé et comparé avec le monde moderne considéré dans son génie allégorique et dans les allégories auxquelles conduit ce génie précédé du plan général des diverses parties qui composeront ce monde primitif From the author, Boudet, Valleyre, Veuve Duchesne, Saugrain and Ruault in Paris, 1773-1782 - Extremely rare first edition of "this monument of erudition in the form of a utopia of origins" (A.-M. Mercier-Faivre). Illustrated with 5 frontispieces, 10 vignettes, 45 plates (some filled) and 2 intaglio maps. Notable among the prints, many after Marillier, are Chinese ideograms, organs of the voice, coins and epigraphs, a large map of ancient Italy (55 x 56cm), a map of the Assyrian Empire (37.5 x 42.5cm), the Shield of Achilles and tarot cards. Each volume of Le Monde primitif includes a list of over 1,000 subscribers, revealing the French and European networks of the Enlightenment. Period bindings in full calf with triple framing of gilded fillets on the boards, red morocco titles and endpapers on the spines, spines with 5 false ribbons of gilded bands, decorated with orientalist motifs. Excellent overall condition, some rubbing to bindings, not serious. The son of a Cévennes pastor, Antoine Court de Gébelin (1719-1784) was educated in Switzerland to follow in his father's footsteps, but preferred to settle in Paris and devote himself to philological research. In 1773, this physiocrat and Freemason, who is known to have received Voltaire in the Neuf Soeurs lodge, began publishing Le Monde primitif, a vast undertaking that met with immense success. The aim was nothing less than to go back to the source of knowledge, to decipher the world conceived as an allegory, through the study of languages, traditions, myths and images. Over the course of 9 volumes - 30 were initially planned! -Court de Gébelin focuses on the ancient myths of Saturn, Mercury and Hercules, the "Grammaire universelle et comparative", the origins of language and writing, the history of the calendar, the etymology of the French, Latin and Greek languages, coats of arms, coins, the shield of Achilles, tarot decks and more. "A very rare work, especially with volume IX missing from almost all copies. Dorbon, n. 927; De Guaita, n. 1267; Caillet, n. 2668; Quérard, II, p. 316. In-4, 101pp, 8pp, 278pp, 6pp, 175pp, 22pp (vol 1), 60pp, 644pp, 24pp, 524pp, 66pp (vol 3), 22pp, 626pp (vol 4), 104pp, 1241pp (vol 5), 327pp, 947pp + errata 1pp (vol6), 20pp, 1367pp (2314pp in continuous pagination with vol 6) (vol 7), 24pp, 71pp, 600pp (vol 8), 28pp, 244pp, 1048pp."