Publisher: Amsterdam [i.e. Paris]: Chez Zacharie Chatelain, 1745.
Edition: First edition.
Bibliographical References: Tchemerzine, Bibliographie d'Editions Originales ou Rares d'Auteurs Francais II, 916; and see P.N. Furman, Diderot, A Critical Biography.
Condition: Edges somewhat rubbed; hinges starting, but sound; very good copy.
Book ID: 28011
Description8vo, contemporary mottled calf, dark red morocco label, gilt decorations and lettering. Vignette title-page, two plates and two headpieces by Etienne Fessard after Louis Durand.
CommentsThe first book by the great French philosopher, writer and polymath Denis Diderot (1713-1784), a translation of An Inquiry Concerning Virtue (1699) by Anthony-Ashley Cooper, the Earl of Shaftesbury. The essay later became part of Shaftesbury's Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (1711). Diderot adapted "Shaftesbury's text pretty freely, adding his own interjections and digressions" - Furman. Diderot's Essai challenged the doctrine of the church, which required that it be published anonymously, with a false imprint. The only evidence of authorship are the initials "M.S." in the title. Shaftesbury's essays, like Lucretius's De Rerum Natura, had an important influence on the young Diderot. Red oval stamp of the Bibliothèque du Clergé, Paroisse St. Nicolas du Chardonnet on the title-page.